Good Friday

Good Friday

The spit of the guards ran down his beard, his back bled with the crimson red of his blood and his body exposed to the world could barely stand, It was Good Friday. The crown of thorns placed on his head pained with every move, the people cheered, called him names and called for his death, It was Good Friday. The nails forever marked his hands and feet, these scars would be carried even into eternity, his friend denied knowing him, his mother wept at the foot of the now raised cross, It was Good Friday. The sun grew dark, the earth shook, the holy veil of the temple was torn, the Father’s face was hid, and he cried in pain, It was Good Friday. The debt He did not owe was paid, my debt which I could not pay was forgiven, It was Good Friday.

Published in: on April 18, 2014 at 12:05 am  Leave a Comment  

It Was Thursday

It Was Thursday

It was Thursday, the meal had been prepared and Jesus and all of His disciples stood around the table dressed, ready to travel, and ate the meal, it was the custom of the day, for they would remember how their people had been saved the night the angel of death passed over the doors marked by the blood of the Lamb, though most would not realized it; this was the last Passover, never again would such a meal be required for now they stood in the presence of The Lamb, tomorrow would see the Lamb slain, the blood spilled, and sin forever paid for, it was Thursday. They hurried for a seat at the table, all wanted to be as near to Jesus as they could be, but He, He was wrapped in a towel, caring a bowl of water washing their feet; God of the universe, maker of Heaven and Earth, bowing before them, washing their feet. It was Thursday.

He took the bread and blessed it, reminded them that it would be his body which would be given for them and they ate; He took the cup and spoke of His blood which would be shed for their sins, they drink from it; It Was Thursday.

Never again would a lamb have to die to remind them of forgiveness, never again would the post of the door be required to be marked by the blood, the Passover was over, It was Thursday and tomorrow He would pay it all.

Ivan

Published in: on April 17, 2014 at 12:05 am  Comments (1)  

The Unknown Story

The Unknown Story

He knew there was something about the man, something very special, he had done a lot of wonderful things and as he had watched for three years he still did not know the trick that he must have used to do those deeds. Sure the people liked the miracles, blind men seeing, lame men walking, dead man coming out of a grave, he never could get close to figuring that one out, of course he had told them that he was God’s son, but it just didn’t add up, the Romans were still in charge and now he was talking about going to Jerusalem but not to lead the people in battle but to die, the son of God doesn’t die, why would he?

Then he let that woman take that very expensive perfume and pour it on him, how unlike a Jewish leader, he didn’t know of one Rabbi who would have let a woman like her touch him, why she did not belong in the room, that was wrong, no good Rabbi would have allowed it. Besides he could have put the value of that perfume to some really good use, it would have gone a long way in his old age fund. Something had to happen, it was time, the people gathered in Jerusalem were ready for a good fight; they needed a leader, a real leader, not a teacher but a doer.

He had watched the people worship him, bow before him, sing about him, now was the time. If the Priest arrested him the people would step in and the Romans would respond and he could rally the people, he was a doer, a real leader, he could do it, he could; besides if it didn’t work out he would still have the thirty pieces of silver.

The Unknown Story because I just made it up, but I promise you there are a lot of people who even after Jesus came out of that grave do not believe in Him and there are thousands, even millions who would trade him for some greenbacks. Ivan

Published in: on April 16, 2014 at 12:05 am  Comments (1)  

People are Fickled

 

He heard the people as they came shouting down the road, the Teacher is coming, the Teacher is coming; his mother told him to bring the knife and to cut leaves from the palm trees and spread them on the road, There were so many people that he had to climb a tree to see the man they were all shouting about; He was on a donkey, followed by a group of men and the people lining the road where shouting, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David’, the boy called to his mother, ‘Who is this?’ but she never heard or never answered. He had never seen so many people, never heard such a cry from the people as they seemed to worship the man on the donkey. ‘I wonder who He is’, the boy thought as the people came by and He entered the city, ‘I wonder who He is?’

A few days later his mother pulled him along as they followed the mass of people, again they were more than he had seen before, so many people and now they were shouting, “Crucify Him, Crucify Him” The boy could not understand, was this not the same man that he had cup palm leaves for, the same man whom they had bowed to and called, Hosanna to? What had happened, what had changed; he looked at his mother and her face was laced with terror but her shouts were, Crucify Him, Crucify Him. He pulled at her arm and with tears streaming said ‘Mother, mother is this not the same man as the Hosanna man just a few days ago?’ She looked at him in terror and shouted and screamed louder, Crucify Him.

Ivan

 

Published in: on April 15, 2014 at 12:05 am  Leave a Comment  

I Worry

I Worry – A Lot

Now I know what you are thinking; I thought you were a minister, preacher, and pastor of a church, how can you worry? Well let me tell you how; just wake-up, that is all it will take, maybe turn on the news just to get the weather and hear all that is taking place around you; worried yet? Hey I went to the doctor on Wednesday, he was busy so I had some time to kill; he has these great medical books, wow, I found four new diseases that I have that I did not even know about, cures, medicine, all sorts of things in that office; you are going to worry.

I start worrying on Sunday night about what I am going to preach on Wednesday night and the next Sunday; I love to get ahead. I know I hear you; as a preacher how can you worry about your sermons? Easy, just think I am going to say here is what God wants me to share with you; is that not a proper subject to worry about? I really have to listen close, pray, study, think and yes worry a bit, I really do need to get that one right. Then there is my age; just think I am going to die sooner than most of you, what if no one comes to the funeral, what if people say; glad that is over?  Don’t get ahead of me, I do not worry about where I am going, that is not the problem; it is the getting there, now don’t you worry just a bit? Of course this could go on for a long time; was I a good person, good husband, father, friend, pastor, yep we could be here for a long time. Just think about the people who have no hope for the future, the list is for all eternity.

But that which troubles me the most, grinds at my heart, places shadows over the future is my concern for my nation. I love America but it breaks my heart and brings worry to my soul what we are doing to the greatest nation in all of history.  God has placed us in this wonderful land and we have so misused it, abused it, and allowed freedom to mean anything to all that is wrong and nothing to all that God holds dear. We act like we hate anyone and everyone who dares to hold a different view; we know better, views we can oppose, dislike, but people; people should be treasured, loved, and given the hope in God that we have found.

Published in: on April 14, 2014 at 12:05 am  Leave a Comment  

A Friend Not Remembered

A Friend Not Remembered

Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking the rooster crowed. Luke 22:60

I saw them gathered outside the church door, all the preachers who had just left the meeting. As I approached I noticed that they were all joining in on a – Rip your fellow minister apart – party. They were just spreading more gossip and enjoying all of it. They asked me what I thought and I paused a moment and said, “Have you ever heard him pray?” With that I watched as they begin to break up and move toward their own cars. I was sure that two of the men knew exactly what I was saying; they had to remember when the friend they were destroying had prayed for them and held their hands in a time of personal hardship. The accused man had been one of only two of us who had attended the funeral of one of the preacher’s new born son. Another was about to loose his church when this ‘friend’ he now forgot had helped him pull it together. It is so easy for us to climb onto the trash building over another, it makes us seem so much taller, but in truth we are not, we are just standing on garbage and we have just forgotten a friend. The rumors were flying through the Low Country and in time would cost the man they were stabbing to lose his job and his heart. Years later the truth would be known and all of them were wrong, but that is not the point, the point was they had a Friend Not Remembered. Be careful when you find others guilty; remember Jesus is a friend who will never forget you.

Ivan

 

 

 

Published in: on April 12, 2014 at 12:05 am  Comments (1)  

A Kiss Not Meant

A Kiss Not Meant

“Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” Jesus to Judas Luke 22:48

In the world of Jesus and Judas a greeting of a kiss was not only the custom but it also spoke volumes concerning the moment. In their world it said this is a moment of trust; even enemies could so greet and each would know that this was a time of safety. No harm would be allowed to fall upon the one so greeted they were not only welcomed into the friendship but provided safety. Judas used this greeting of ‘you can trust me’ to betray his Lord and Master. I think we are sometimes guilty of this; we make God a promise, we offer our friendship and our service and then because we get our feelings hurt by someone or get a better deal or maybe just discover as Judas did a cowards attitude and all that we have promised Christ is forgotten. Tom had given his business and life to Christ. He used Christian symbols on his mail and in his advertisement and in so many ways he really meant it and wished to live by those standards. But opportunity came to cut a corner, make an extra profit, and get in the right crowd and Tom soon found himself giving to ‘Christ a Kiss Not Meant’. I sat at a table with J.C. Penney when I was in high school and remembering him telling us how he lost his first business because he would not give his best customer a fifth of whiskey. For a moment he said he thought God had let him down and that he should have taken the short cut, but only for a moment. He had made a promise to God that was larger than his best customer. No Kiss Not Meant for Mr. Penney.

Published in: on April 11, 2014 at 12:05 am  Leave a Comment  

A Cup Not Passed

Jesus, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Matthew 26 39

As I boy I wondered what Christ was asking the Father to do. Maybe it was to let Him not suffer, maybe not be exposed to all the shame and humiliation of being crucified? As I grew older I decided it was that Jesus did not want the Father to turn His back on Him but now my heart tells me that the cup Jesus spoke of was the cup that all the horrible sinners of this world had spit their sins into. Name the bad guys there are so many it would easily fill a cup. All of their sins, shame, and cancerous thoughts put in that cup and then His taking it to His lips to drink. I wanted to cry when I thought of that, it was more than I could think about; then it occurred to me that I had left out some sins, my sins, all the thoughts, all the deeds, all the task I did not do, all of my sin was placed in that cup and Jesus drink all of my sin. He who knew no sin became sin because of me so that He might pay for my sin and I could go free. The cup not passed was filled with my sin and Jesus drink it all.

Ivan

 

Published in: on April 9, 2014 at 11:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Prayer Not Prayed

Then Jesus said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch and pray with me.”  Matthew 26:38

After a bit He returned and found them asleep.  Have you ever forgotten to Pray?

She met me as I was coming out of the drug store and with wonderful excitement said, “Pastor thank you so much for praying for mom. She is doing great, the surgery went perfect and she will be home in a few days. Thanks pastor for praying for mother.”

I am not sure of my response but it had to be quiet of this I am very sure for the last time I had prayed for her mother was when she had approached me in the hallway at church and asked me to remember her and the surgery in my prayers. I had walked away praying for her mother but in fifteen minutes I was in the pulpit and to my knowledge that was the last I remember of the request until she caught me coming out of the drug store. I was so ashamed, I had forgotten to pray. I wonder how many prayers have been left un-prayed. Jesus wanted the disciples to pray, so it had to matter. God does hear and answer our prayer; otherwise Jesus would not have asked them to pray. Maybe Peter would not have denied Christ, maybe there would have been more disciples at the cross, maybe, maybe – but they did not pray. I wonder how many people are sick today because someone forgot to pray, how many still lost, how many in the cemetery? How many homes broken, how many families shattered, and how many lives never serving in His Kingdom because of a prayer not prayed?

 

 

Published in: on April 8, 2014 at 12:05 am  Leave a Comment  

Time in Its Flight

This has been an interesting week.  Last Sunday I was with First Baptist in Lobeville for their homecoming, enjoy the day, the people the food, and decisions which were made. As I was about to leave one of the men reminded me that I had promised to do his funeral, I smiled and we both grinned, I told him that I was sure he would outlive me, but that if he didn’t I would do his funeral. Saturday night I received a call from his family, he has gone home with the Lord, I smiles and fun now became very real, I will make that journey to his service. We never know, do we, time is on its on course not ours.

Sunday I started a revival at Allons Baptist Church in Livingston, Tennessee, we had beautiful services both in the morning and evening and I will be there tonight through Wednesday at 7:00 pm. I am far too old to be good at revivals but God is so much greater than I am and blesses in such wonderful ways.  We had many to come forward in both service, the music was powerful and I am looking forward to these next three nights, thanks for your prayers.

Last night I reminded them of the events in chapter 22 of Luke in the last days of our Lord’s life on earth; We considered a Pray not Prayed, how sad that people forget the power and wonder of prayer, then there is the Cup not Passed, that cup which held all of my sins and Jesus did not pass it but took and drank it all, all of my sins, as miserable as I have been He drink my sin and cleansed it with His blood. We were going to talk about a Kiss Not Meant, a Friend not Remembered, and a Tomb not Kept but time fled away. Easter is the moment when we see the glory of our Lord, the love which He shares for each of us and the price which He paid, I am humbled at the very thought.

Ivan

Published in: on April 7, 2014 at 12:05 am  Leave a Comment  
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