Reflections

Jesus, The Magnificent Life

FOLLOWING THE MASTER – A Lenten Devotional

 

Resurrection Sunday

March 27, 2016

Jesus, the Magnificent Life

Copyright 2016 Monica Hernandez

“And when the sabbath was past…And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun…he is risen; he is not here; behold the place where they laid him” (Mark 16;1-6).

The Scriptures tell us that it was very early in the morning on the first day of the week after the crucifixion that three women came to the sepulchre of Jesus, carrying sweet spices with the intention to anoint his body. At the sepulchre, they met a young man clothed in a long white garment who told them about Jesus: “He is risen; he is not here...”

This story has been told for more than two thousand years and though we know it very well, yet there is a need to keep the scenario continually fresh in our minds.

The resurrection of Jesus tells us that those who believe in Jesus have the blessed hope of being raised from spiritual death to everlasting life.

However, we cannot over emphasize that even today, all who receive Him are already “risen in Christ” awaiting a full manifestation of that truth when our Lord returns to receive us unto Himself at some time in the future.

When Jesus walked on this earth, in making known His identity, He made many statements about Himself, but of all He said about Himself, this one is the most magnificent: "I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live" (John 11:25-26). When we receive this magnificent life of Jesus into our hearts in faith, the same Spirit of life that raised Him up from the dead uplifts us, even today and sets us free for ever.

This is God’s world and the plan of the Resurrection is God’s plan. Jesus knew He possessed the power of the Resurrection and His body would be raised up again from the tomb to new life. He also knew He was the chosen one to make it available to us.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the central teaching in the Christian faith. It is like the hub of a wheel while all other doctrines are like the spokes reaching out from that hub to the circumference of the wheel which can be likened to the body of Christ at large.

This Easter season and forward, instead of limiting our vision of Jesus as a mighty healer and teacher in old Israel, as important as those truths are, let us all seek to know Him fully as our Risen Lord and Saviour.

In the Scriptures, many are the names and titles given to Jesus. Lamb of God, Prince of Peace, Sun of Righteousness, and Lion of the Tribe of Judah are just a few. And in more recent times, a songwriter lovingly wrote: “He is the Lily of the Valley, the bright and Morning Star; He is the fairest of ten thousand to my soul.

SUGGESTED READINGS: John 11:25-26; Colossians 3:1-3; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.

PRAYER: "Thank you Lord, for your resurrection power at work in me. Amen.”

THOUGHT FOR TODAY

The Spirit that raised up Jesus from the dead is raising me up to new

heights every day—all for the glory of the Lord

 

For Everything Give Thanks

I recently came across this beautiful poem and thought I would share it with you:

For all that God in mercy sends;

For health and children, home and friends,

For comfort in the time of need,

For every kindly word and deed,

For happy thoughts and holy talk,

For guidance in our daily walk,

For everything give thanks.

For beauty in this world of ours,

For verdant grass and lovely flowers,

For song of birds, for hum of bees,

For refreshing summer breeze,

For hill and plain, for streams and wood,

For the great ocean’s mighty flood,

For everything give thanks.

For sweet sleep which comes with night,

For the returning morning’s light,

For the bright sun that shines on high,

For the stars glittering in the sky,

For those and everything we see,

O Lord, our hearts we lift to thee.

For everything give thanks.

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Be Planted In The House Of The Lord

Yesterday, I read this quotation by Brother Lawrence, a 17th century Carmelite monk: “The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer, and in the noise and clutter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God as if I were upon my knees at the blessed sacrament.”

And that quotation took me back to a long-past meditation on Psalm 92:12-15. I remembered how the Spirit of God dealt with me, leading me to understand more about being planted in the house of the Lord. I began to see that “being planted in the house of the Lord” does not necessarily mean to physically live in a church or temple but to live in a constant awareness of the manifest presence of God at all times.

And “flourishing” is not only reflected as material prosperity as we commonly think it should be, but can also be an expansion of insights and growth in a spiritual sense, as well as having a deep calmness of spirit.

More importantly, being planted and flourishing in the house of the Lord speaks of being rooted, grounded and established in the Word and being able to witness the presence of God in our everyday activities, like it was with Brother Lawrence while he worked in the midst of the noise and clutter of his kitchen.

As we read more of Brother Lawrence’s works, we catch glimpses of his devoutness as a follower of God. He saw the presence of God in everything, especially in his chores in the monastery kitchen where he worked. To him, his service in the kitchen was as worshipful as being in the presence of the blessed sacrament. No wonder he flourished in the grace of God to live in a Christlike way.

Heavenly Father, help us all to be planted in your house and help us to flourish where we are planted. Amen.

"The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree...those

that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish..." (Psalm 92:12-13).

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The Stone Rolled Away

Once again, it is the Easter season and a special time to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the tomb. We remember the account given at Mark 16:1, which tells us that very early in the morning, more than 2000 years ago, Mary Magdalene and two other women went to the tomb of Jesus. In accordance with their customary burial practices, they had brought sweet spices to anoint the body of Jesus.

However, there was something of great concern to them. They said among themselves: “Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?” The Bible says the stone was very great and the women knew they could not roll it away, but they kept moving on, and as they came to the sepulchre, they discovered that the stone had been rolled away.

Other Scriptures about the resurrection morn tell us that the stone was not moved by human hands but had been divinely rolled away by an angel.

Jesus’ entire life was one of teaching. He taught us by parables, precepts, and living examples. And we can find many lessons that He taught in the account of His resurrection that can be helpful to us today both in a practical and spiritual way. The resurrection morn speaks to us of the breaking through of a new dawn in our life-journey. It tells us about eternal life in Christ and newness of life — even today.

As followers of Jesus, His resurrection from the tomb is central to all our beliefs

His resurrection is gateway to eternal life but we walk through that gateway only as we believe in Him. Believing in Him and His resurrection, and following Him give us hope for eternal life, which is not merely length of days, but upliftment in life — even today.

And how does the Easter story speak to us today?

Besides the fact that believers in Christ gained eternal life through His resurrection, He taught us the lesson of spiritual breakthrough (Romans 8:11) and that we can have angelic assistance in our lives and affairs — even today.

God sends His angels

We can have a breakthrough in our lives today, but how? By the wisdom, power and strength of God removing the hindrances and bondage from our everyday experiences. The rolled away stone can be likened to any difficulty in our lives that seems impossible to be removed but when God intervenes, He sends His angels to transform the situation and give us a breakthrough.

Are you facing difficulties today?

The same Spirit who sent His angel to roll away the stone from the door of the tomb can not only cause the stone that keeps you locked in to be rolled away from your life-experience but also raise you up to a new way of living today.

Do you have a prayer request?

We offer you our support in prayer. Write to us about your prayer needs or give us a call and we will come into agreement with you for the wonder-working power of Christ in your life.

Keep your eyes and ears open for our upcoming “Day of Prayer” in the month of June.

More details will follow...

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We thank you for your support and wish a happy and blessed Easter season to you and yours, and may the message of Easter be a lifelong reality to you.

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Reflections On Fruitage

Last night, the focus of my meditation was Matthew, chapter seven, verses fifteen to twenty and I awoke this morning with the words “love, joy, peace” ringing in my spirit. And barely awake, my thoughts rambled on from one divine idea to another, until I found myself thinking of the fruit of the Spirit. The Spirit was echoing my meditation back to me in terms of wisdom and personal evaluation.

As I reflected on the fruit of the Spirit, I saw more clearly than ever that we, as humans, cannot escape the fruitage of the seeds we sow in our lives, whether they are truths or any other principles we choose to follow, for fruitage is an end result that depends on our choices in life.

I thought about an apple tree in my neighbour’s backyard that was laden with fruit in the summer and fall of last year and was reminded that at some point in time that tree was just a seed.

When we look at any fruit-bearing tree in the natural realm, we expect to see fruit upon it after its kind, for example, apple seeds produce trees and fruitage after the nature of apples, just the same with oranges and any other seed or tree. As always, Jesus was right when He said: “...by their fruits ye shall know them.”

And as we pay attention to spiritual fruitage, we see character, attitudes, aspirations and transformation. We see, too, that the principle of fruitage rests in sowing and nurturing.

What seeds are you sowing and nurturing in your soul? Whatever they are, they will grow “first the shoot, then the blade—and after that, fruitage.” They will be seen in our lives some day like open books for everyone to read.

As we grow in the spirit, let it be that people can look at our lives and see fruitage after the God-kind: that which is recorded at Galatians, chapter five, verses twenty two and twenty three.

"Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them" (Matthew 7:20).

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