Charles Stanley – TRIUMPHANT MESSAGE OF THE RESURRECTION

 

The reality of Christ’s triumph over sin and death changed the disciples’ lives forever and can transfigure any situation we face.

Do you ever find it difficult to believe? In the midst of painful circumstances, is it sometimes challenging to trust that your situation can ever be better or that something good can come from it?

Even the disciples who walked with Jesus were completely devastated after the crucifixion. The Savior had told them repeatedly, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again” (Mark 8:31). Yet they doubted. They simply could not see past their human perceptions or expectations to claim His promises.

The disciples were brokenhearted and despondent. They felt absolutely helpless. Deep within their hearts, they believed it was all over. They had seen Jesus suffer and die on the cross with their own eyes. From their perspective, all of their hopes and dreams had been irrevocably dashed. Why? John 20:9 tells us, “As yet they did not understand the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead.”

How often do you and I get caught up in the same attitude of defeat? We’re overwhelmed by our circumstances because we’re focused on our limited comprehension of them instead of the Father’s awesome purposes. Yet if we could see past our imperfect understanding to our extraordinary Redeemer, we would be filled with joy. Our lives would be radically transformed—just as the disciples were after the resurrection.

Nothing—not even death—can separate us from God once we accept Christ as our Savior.

We would do well to remember the life-changing truths the disciples learned after Jesus rose from the grave. The reality of Christ’s triumph over sin and death changed their lives forever and can transfigure any situation we face—filling it with hope.

So what did they discover?

First, they realized that God always succeeds in carrying out His plans. Jesus promised to pay for our transgressions and deliver us from the penalty of death—and that is exactly what He did (Luke 24:46-48). There was no power on earth that could divert Him from achieving His goal … not the Sanhedrin, nor even the great Roman army.

The same is true in your life. Regardless of what you face or how your situation currently appears, the Lord is greater. He has conquered the grave and can overcome any problem you encounter. Therefore, continue walking in the center of His will. He is certain to keep all of His promises to you.

Second, the disciples learned that nothing—not even death—can separate us from God once we trust Christ as our Savior (Rom. 8:31-39). Although the disciples thought they had lost Jesus through the crucifixion, the resurrection showed them they would never be divided from Him again.

Likewise, we have been reconciled to the Father forever. This means we always have Him with us—guiding, teaching, and providing for us. No matter how lonely or helpless we may feel, the fact is, we are never alone or powerless. The Lord God Almighty, our Comforter and Defender, will never leave, fail, or forsake us.

Third, the disciples discovered that in the grand scope of things, any adversity we experience is temporary because Jesus has given us eternal life. Although they knew they would face resistance and persecution as they preached the gospel, the disciples understood the Father would ultimately deliver them—whether on earth or by taking them to their home in heaven (1 Pet. 4:12-19). Their futures were absolutely secure because they were in God’s loving and capable hands.

He has conquered the grave and can overcome any problem you encounter.

Again, you have the same assurance. You may feel as if your situation is impossible to overcome. It may appear unending, and you may be weary and disheartened. But don’t give up hope. Cling to the promise that God acts on behalf of those who wait for Him. Keep seeking Him, and He will deliver you from the trials you’re enduring.

Now I ask you to look deep within your heart and be completely honest with yourself and with the Father. Do you have doubts? Are you finding it difficult to believe in the Lord because of the troubles you’re experiencing? Is it challenging to trust that your situation can ever be better or that something good can come from it?

You can experience victory if you will apply these three important principles to your life. The Lord will succeed in carrying out His plans and keep all of His promises to you. Nothing—not even death—can separate you from the Father, so you will never be alone or helpless. And no matter what happens to you—it is only temporary. Eventually, God will set you free from the problems you face.

Keep reminding yourself of these triumphant truths from the resurrection because that is the way to true and lasting victory—today and every day. May our risen Savior remind you of these certainties and encourage your heart deeply, abundantly, and with never-ending joy.

Resurrection

 

Our Daily Bread — Come To Me

 

 

 

Read: John 20:24-31
Bible in a Year: 1 Samuel 1-3; Luke 8:26-56

 

Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed. —John 20:29

Charlotte Elliott wrote the hymn “Just As I Am” in 1834. She had been an invalid for many years, and though she wanted to help with a fund-raiser for a girl’s school, she was too ill. She felt useless, and this inner distress caused her to begin doubting her faith in Christ. She wrote “Just As I Am” as a response to her doubt. The crux of her distress is perhaps best expressed in these words:

Just as I am, though tossed about
With many a conflict, many a doubt,
Fightings and fears within, without,
O Lamb of God, I come!

Three days after His death and burial, Jesus rose from the grave and invited the disciple whom history has nicknamed “Doubting Thomas” to examine the marks of His crucifixion (John 20:27). When Thomas touched Jesus’ wounds, he finally believed in the resurrection. Christ responded, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (v.29).

As Christians today, we are the ones who have not seen but still believe. Yet at times our earthly circumstances create serious questions in our souls. Even then, we cry out: “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24). Jesus welcomes us to come to Him just as we are. —Jennifer Benson Schuldt

Dear Jesus, help me to trust You when life doesn’t make sense. Please take my doubt and replace it with fresh faith in You.

The risen Christ opens the door for you to have fullness of life.

INSIGHT: The world remembers Thomas the disciple for his statement of doubt about Jesus’ resurrection. However, it was also Thomas who showed more loyalty to Christ than many of the others. When the Pharisees were actively seeking to kill Him, Jesus said to His disciples, “Let us go to Judea again” (John 11:7). Thomas is the one who said, “Let us also go that we may die with Him” (v. 16).

Alistair Begg – Your Cross

 

…laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus. Luke 23:26

We see in Simon’s carrying the cross a picture of the work of the church throughout all generations; she is the cross-bearer after Jesus. Notice, Christian, that Jesus does not suffer so as to prevent your suffering. He bears a cross, not that you may escape it, but that you may endure it. Christ exempts you from sin, but not from sorrow. Remember that, and expect to suffer. But let us comfort ourselves with this thought, that in our case, as in Simon’s, it is not our cross but Christ’s cross that we carry. When you are persecuted for your piety, when your faith is the occasion of cruel jokes, then remember it is not your cross, it is Christ’s cross; and what a privilege it is to carry the cross of our Lord Jesus!

You carry the cross after Him. You have blessed company; your path is marked with the footprints of your Lord. The mark of His blood-red shoulder is upon that heavy burden. It is His cross, and He goes before you as a shepherd goes before his sheep. Take up your cross daily, and follow Him.

Do not forget, also, that you bear this cross in partnership. It is the opinion of some that Simon only carried one end of the cross, and not the whole of it. That is very possible. Christ may have carried the heavier part, against the transverse beam, and Simon may have borne the lighter end. Certainly that is the case with you; you only carry the light end of the crossChrist bore the heavier end.

And remember, though Simon had to bear the cross for only a short while, it gave him lasting honor. Even so, the cross we carry is only for a little while at most, and then we shall receive the crown, the glory. Surely we should love the cross and, instead of shrinking from it, count it very dear, for it works out for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.

Devotional material is taken from “Morning and Evening,” written by C.H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg

 

Charles Spurgeon – Justification by grace

 

“Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:24

Suggested Further Reading: Hebrews 10:11-18

God demanded of Christ the payment for the sins of all his people; Christ stood forward, and to the utmost farthing paid whate’er his people owed. The sacrifice of Calvary was not a part payment; it was not a partial exoneration, it was a complete and perfect payment, and it obtained a complete and perfect remission of all the debts of all believers that have lived, do live, or shall live, to the very end of time. On that day when Christ hung on the cross, he did not leave a single farthing for us to pay as a satisfaction to God. The whole of the demands of the law were paid down there and then by Jehovah Jesus, the great high priest of all his people. And blessed be his name, he paid it all at once too. So priceless was the ransom, so princely and generous was the price demanded for our souls, one might have thought it would have been marvellous if Christ had paid it by instalments; some of it now, and some of it then. Kings’ ransoms have sometimes been paid part at once, and part in dues afterwards, to run through years. But not so our Saviour: once for all he gave himself a sacrifice; at once he counted down the price, and said, “It is finished,” leaving nothing for him to do, nor for us to accomplish. He did not drivel out a part-payment, and then declare that he would come again to die, or that he would again suffer, or that he would again obey; but down upon the nail, to the utmost farthing, the ransom of all people was paid, and a full receipt given to them, and Christ nailed that receipt to his cross.

For meditation: Those who attempt to complete or repeat a finished piece of work insult its maker and render it useless to themselves (Galatians 5:2).

Sermon no. 126
5 April (1857)

 

John MacArthur – Dealing with Sorrow

 

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matt. 5:4).

Human sorrow is a natural and healthy emotion, but beware of mourning over unfulfilled sinful desires.

Most people in our society have an amusement-park mentality. They spend much of their time and money on entertainment, wanting to enjoy life and avoid problems whenever possible. To them, Matthew 5:4 is a paradox. How can someone who mourns be happy? The answer lies in the difference between godly sorrow and human sorrow. Godly sorrow is sorrow over sin; human sorrow is sorrow over some tragic or disappointing turn of events (2 Cor. 7:8-11).

In Matthew 5:4 Jesus is referring to godly sorrow, which is our topic for tomorrow. But we all face human sorrow, so I want to discuss it briefly today.

Human sorrow is a natural emotion. Our Lord Himself was “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Isa. 53:3). Many things can cause it: we might mourn out of love, disappointment, loneliness, or physical illness. There is nothing wrong with that kind of mourning. It is a God- given relief valve for the pain and sorrow in this fallen world, and promotes the healing process.

Scripture gives many examples of human sorrow. Abraham wept when his wife, Sarah, died (Gen. 23:2). Through tears Jeremiah preached God’s message of judgment (Jer. 9:1). Paul expressed his concern for the church with his tears (Acts 20:31). Those are natural, healthy expressions of human sorrow.

However, sorrow can also be caused by evil desires or a lack of trust in God. King Ahab mourned to the point of sulking and not eating when he couldn’t have another man’s property (1 Kings 21:4). Some Christians mourn excessively when they lose a loved one. Forsaking the comfort of the Spirit, they focus only on their own grief. Extreme or prolonged manifestations of sorrow are sinful and must be confessed rather than comforted.

God is gracious to His children amid times of human sorrow. Ultimately He will do away with mourning and pain forever (Rev. 21:4). Rejoice in that promise and be comforted by His wonderful grace!

Suggestions for Prayer; Thank God for the ministry of the Spirit, who is the great Comforter or Helper (John 14:16-17). When sorrow occurs, lean on the Spirit, feed your soul on God’s Word, and commune with Him in prayer.

For Further Study; Read Psalm 55. How did David express his desire to escape his difficult situation? What was his final resolve?

Joyce Meyer – Patience Grows Under Trial

 

In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.] John 16:33

Patience is a fruit of the Spirit we desperately need in our lives. But when we pray for patience, we often experience challenges that give us opportunity to develop patience. We may not like it, but God has something good in mind—He is actually answering our prayers and we just don’t realize it.

God wants us to bless Him at all times, not just when things are going our way. When challenges arrive in your life, remember you can be peaceful, enjoy the journey, have faith, and learn patience because Jesus is with you at every moment. And He will bring you through to the other side.

Power Thought: I keep an attitude of good cheer in all circumstances because God is with me.

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Fair in Everything

 

“The Lord is fair in everything He does, and full of kindness. He is close to all who call on Him sincerely” (Psalm 145:17,18).

Are you afraid to trust the Lord? I find that many people who have had unfortunate experiences in their youth with their parents, especially their fathers, have a reluctance to trust God.

In my talks with thousands of students, I have found a number of young people who have such an attitude problem.

Even the best of earthly parents, at times, are unfair and fail to demonstrate kindness. Yet how wonderful it is to know that our Lord is fair in everything He does and is full of kindness, and He is always close to all who call upon Him sincerely.

Notice that the Scripture promise quoted above is a categorical statement. The psalmist permits no exceptions, even when we are sure we deserved better than we received. Thus we need to claim the promise in God’s Word by faith and live by it. Some day we will see events from God’s side and recognize the fairness we could not see here.

We often see “as in a glass darkly,” but God has perfect 20/20 vision. That’s why the attitude of trust alone will help us overcome our feelings that God or the world, is unfair. Only then can we live a supernatural life of daily acceptance of what God sends our way.

Bible Reading: Psalm 145:8-12

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  Today I will put my trust in God and His goodness, no matter how I feel. I will move beyond preoccupation with my disappointments and carry out God’s appointments in the certainty that our Lord is fair in everything He does and will enable me to live supernaturally as I continue to trust and obey Him.

Presidential Prayer Team; C.H.- Easter Sunday

 

Extraordinary from Ordinary

The definition of “common,” according to Merriam-Webster, is “falling below ordinary standards” or “lacking refinement or special status.” A common person lacks distinction. That’s how the Pharisees characterized Peter and John after questioning them.

When they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were…common men, they were astonished.

Acts 4:13

The two disciples had healed a beggar instead of giving the lame man money. Astonished, the Jewish council wanted to know by what power they performed such a miracle. “Jesus,” was their answer. “There is salvation in no one else.” (Acts 4:12) God frequently chooses to use common people to do extraordinary things. In doing so, the glory goes to the Almighty. As today’s verse continues, when people saw the miracle of Peter and John, “they recognized that they had been with Jesus.”

Will people look at the events, attitudes and actions of your life and recognize you have spent time with the Lord? God used common people then – and can still use ordinary people today. Pray for God to use your life for His glory and to bring others to salvation in Him. Pray, too, for your national leaders to know Christ this Easter.

Recommended Reading: Acts 3:1-10