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in Hope

Easter

In the Old Testament, perfect and spotless lambs had to be sacrificed to atone for human sin. In the New Testament, Jesus, the Lamb of God, willingly shed His own blood as a final sacrifice, taking away the sins of the world. In John 19 Jesus had just been brutally beaten and crucified on a cross, fulfilling multiple prophesies from the Old Testament.  His body was mutilated yet not a bone was broken. After His death, He was taken to a tomb where He laid behind a large stone guarded by Roman soldiers.

Typically when we pick up a biography and read it through, the end of the story comes at no surprise with death and burial. But Jesus’ story isn’t finished at death. Being fully God and fully man, He continued with the miracle of resurrecting from the dead three days after His burial. This true historical event is the climax of the gospel message and an essential doctrine in the Christian faith. It has even been proven by non-Christian historians and eyewitnesses that all the events in the New Testament about Jesus’ resurrection are true. The empty tomb is God’s voucher to us that the full debt of our sins and the sins of the world have been paid.

Let’s look together at the Resurrection story and see the impact Christ had on the Mary.

 


 

John 20:11 -16

But Mary stood outside the tomb, crying. As she was crying, she stooped to look into the tomb. 12 She saw two angels in white sitting where Jesus’s body had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you crying?”

“Because they’ve taken away my Lord,” she told them, “and I don’t know where they’ve put him.”

14 Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know it was Jesus. 15 “Woman,” Jesus said to her, “why are you crying? Who is it that you’re seeking?”

Supposing he was the gardener, she replied, “Sir, if you’ve carried him away, tell me where you’ve put him, and I will take him away.”

16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

Turning around, she said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!”— which means “Teacher.”

Can you imagine? Mary broken, distraught, perhaps even hopeless, is standing outside the tomb crying. Jesus, the one who had changed her life and brought hope to hopelessness is gone, not only dead but now missing.

All of us have experienced the tragedy of loss. We’ve lost family members, friends, even prominent world figures. When experiencing these losses we remember the times we shared with our loved ones, we reflect on the contributions they may have had on our lives (both good and bad) and we mourn their present and future absence on our lives. Here, on earth it is a final, we will no longer see them living, breathing or talking. In addition to all these emotions Mary also had stood by and watched helplessly as Jesus suffered and excruciating death before her very eyes. Most certainly, for Mary, all hope was lost.

Then it happens, the impossible becomes possible, Jesus standing, alive and talking to Mary. At first Mary doesn’t recognize Jesus but then Jesus calls her by name. Just take second today and let this soak in…. Looking at Jesus she did not recognize Him but when she heard Him call her name she knew at that moment it was Jesus! It was Jesus!! IT…WAS…JESUS!!! He’s alive!

  John 10:27 says “My sheep hear my voice, I know them, and they follow me.”  Mary knew the Masters voice and has just gone from the pit of despair to the the pinnacle of life…she’s the first to see our risen Savior, the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Mourning has turned to joy!

Can you imagine? Every year we celebrate Easter. How do we remember, reflect and rejoice the Good News of Jesus Christ. Let us pray to have the same sheer joy that must’ve overwhelmed Mary. JESUS IS ALIVE!

Posted by Jim Booth with
in prayer

Pray for Yourself Everyday

11 Ways to Pray for Yourself Every Day

One of the key elements in prayer is petitioning, or praying for yourself. Some people shy away from such prayers, thinking that it violates humility and draws attention to themselves rather than God.

Yet, it’s absolutely biblical. In fact, Jesus petitioned the following the night before He was crucified: “Father…glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with you before the world was” (John 17:5).

If Jesus needed to pray for Himself, then I certainly need to pray for myself. That said, ponder these eleven personal requests I’ve started bringing daily to God.

1. Examine me.

I borrowed this one from King David, who asked God to “search him, know him, test him, and see if there was any offensive way” in him (Psalm 139:23, 24). It takes courage to pray in such a way, yet I want the Lord to reveal to me those things that aren’t pleasing to Him.

2. Forgive my sins.

This is the obvious next step after petition #1. I’m wasting my time praying if I’m not willing to make confession a part of the process (Psalm 66:18). Once I‘ve sought and received His forgiveness (1 John 1:9), I’m on praying ground, washed and cleansed, ready to proceed.

3. Fill me with Your Spirit.

When renowned preacher/evangelist D.L. Moody was asked why he constantly sought a filling of the Spirit, he responded, “Because I leak.” I was baptized with the Spirit when saved, a reality that never needs to be repeated. Yet, like Moody, I leak. I need to be continually filled (Ephesians 5:18), especially for times of special service and ministry.

4. Restore and strengthen me.

Ministry can suck the life right out of us, creating a state of despondency and weariness (Isaiah 40:30). Like David, I ask God to “Restore to me the joy of your salvation” (Psalm 51:12). Also, I include myself in on God’s promise to His people, through the prophet Ezekiel: “I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh (36:26).

5. Grant me wisdom.

I have plenty of information at my disposal. What I need is wisdom—Godly wisdom—the kind that comes from above. We live in an age in which information abounds and wisdom seems nearly extinct. Thankfully, He’s happy to share it with us, “generously to all without finding fault,” if only we will ask (James 1:5).

6. Protect my mind.

Knowing I am what I think (Proverbs 23:7), I want to think good stuff. And I certainly need God’s help in doing so. Since we have the Holy Spirit living in us, we have access to the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). We dare not remain passive in the process, however. Daily, I pray that my carnal mind would be suppressed and Christ’s mind would reign supreme.

7. Stifle Satan.

Satan hates everything to do with what I’ve just written above. He’s lost the eternal war but will do everything in his power to win the battle for our minds. I pray for the daily strength to resist him so that he will flee (James 4:7). Like Jesus, I sometimes speak to him directly, demanding that he “get thee behind me” (Matthew 16:23).

8. Suppress unbelief and supply faith.

Such battles must never be entered alone. Like the father of the demon possessed boy, I must ask Jesus to “help me overcome my unbelief” (Mark 9:24). Like the fledging disciples, we need to ask the Lord to “increase our faith” (Luke 17:5).

9. Guard my behavior.

The last thing I want to do is to be a stumbling block to those around me (1 Corinthians 10:32), especially the lost. Therefore, I pray that the Lord would “lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from the evil one (Matthew 6:13), protecting me from and guarding me against bad attitudes and choices.

10. Arrange significant divine appointments.

Over the years, this verse has become increasingly significant to me: “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps” (Proverbs 16:9). My daily desire is to follow God’s schedule. Since He often gives spontaneous direction, I must allow margin in order for Him rearrange my schedule. I pray especially that He would lead me regularly into opportunities for evangelism and encouragement.

11. Enlarge my sphere of influence.

I’m taking this final petition right out of Jabez’s playbook. Like this Old Testament mystery man, I’m continually asking that “bless me and enlarge my territory” (1 Chronicles 4:10). According to Jack Taylor in PRAYER: Life’s Limitless Reach, this means “extended responsibility, lengthened influence, heightened opportunity.” For the glory of God, that’s the kind of desire for blessing and expansion of ministry and I’m continually seeking.

Petitioning is only one spoke in the prayer wheel. Certainly, it shouldn’t take precedent over praising God and interceding for others. Yet, in my remaining time on this fallen planet, I intend to take full responsibility for and advantage of every opportunity when it comes to praying for myself.

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