Reflections for the season of Easter for 2011.
As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, "Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." (Acts 13:2)
So they watched Him, and sent spies who pretended to be righteous, that they might seize on His words, in order to deliver Him to the power and the authority of the governor. (Luke 20:20)
And they reasoned among themselves, saying, "If we say, 'From heaven,' He will say, 'Why then did you not believe him?' But if we say, 'From men,' all the people will stone us, for they are persuaded that John was a prophet." (Luke 20:5-6)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Are you ready to die? If you're in high school, college, just started a career, middle age or even old age the answer is, “Probably not.” Who wants to die? Who thinks they will soon? Who wants to even think about it?
And above all things have fervent love for one another, for "love will cover a multitude of sins." (1 Peter 4:8)
"Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:25-26)
" But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.” (John 15:26)
When You said, "Seek My face," My heart said to You, "Your face, LORD, I will seek." Do not hide Your face from me; (Psalm 27:8-9 from the Introit for Easter 7)
Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.(Acts 1:9)
And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. (Mark 16:20)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Somebody once asked, “If God doesn't lead us into temptation, why do we pray for Him not to lead us? Why don't we pray 'Guard us from temptation' or something like that?” Well, the first part of the answer is that these are the words Jesus gave us to pray, so these are the ones we pray! But more than that, God DOES lead into temptation. He led His Son into the wilderness to be tempted (Matthew 4:1). So really we are praying, “Don't do to us what you did to your Son!”
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (James 1:22)
Then the LORD said to Moses, "Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live." (Numbers 21:8)
"These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)
With a voice of singing, Declare, proclaim this, Utter it to the end of the earth; Say, "The LORD has redeemed His servant Jacob!" (Isaiah 48:20 from the Introit for Easter 6)
"Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.” (Luke 13:24)
Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish." (Luke 13:4-5)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Has anyone ever hung up on you? You got into it and they got mad and “click.” Conversation over. Or maybe you've done that to someone. What if the Lord did that to us? What if, because of what we've said or thought or done, our Father in heaven said, “I'm done listening. Click.” Dial tone! He ought to. He could. But He doesn't.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. (James 1:17)
And in that day you will say: "O LORD, I will praise You; Though You were angry with me, Your anger is turned away, and You comfort me. (Isaiah 12:1)
"However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. (John 16:13)
Oh, sing to the LORD a new song! For He has done marvelous things (Psalm 98:1, from the Introit for Easter 5)
Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.(1 John 3:1)
For He does not afflict willingly, Nor grieve the children of men. (Lamentations 3:33)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. If God knows what we need before we need it, why bother asking? The Catechism reminds us to ask because it teaches us to be thankful to our heavenly Father for all that we receive from His generous hand. Not only that, but we are asking for everything to make daily bread possible: good weather for the farmers to grow the grain; safety for the truckers shipping it; good health for the workers who mill and bake; blessings for those who stock and sell it. There's a lot that goes into a loaf of bread. Or a pair of jeans. Or a new laptop. Or anything that your heavenly Father gives you.
For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men. (1 Peter 2:15)
But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31)
"Most assuredly, I say to you that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy.” (John 16:20)
Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth! (Psalm 66:1 from the Introit for Easter 4)
"You shall put the holy garments on Aaron, and anoint him and consecrate him, that he may minister to Me as priest.” (Exodus 40:13).
And they set onyx stones, enclosed in settings of gold; they were engraved, as signets are engraved, with the names of the sons of Israel. (Exodus 39:6)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The devil doesn't want you to believe in Jesus. The world thinks you're stupid if you do. Your sinful nature just wants to live the never ending party of self indulgence. It seems as if you, the new person in Christ, have pretty bad odds against you. But not with the Third Petition on your lips!
[Christ], when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; (1 Peter 2:23)
"As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day.” (Ezekiel 34:12)
"I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. (John 10:11)
The earth is full of the goodness of the LORD. (Psalm 33:5 from the Introit for Easter 3)
But they were filled with rage, and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus. (Luke 6:11)
For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith. (1 John 5:4)
Thy Kingdom come. How does God's kingdom come? God's kingdom comes when our heavenly Father gives us His Holy Spirit, so that by His grace we believe His holy Word and lead godly lives here in time and therein eternity. (The Lord's Prayer, Second Petition)
Then He said to me, "Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, 'Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!' (Ezekiel 37:11)
Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us."Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, 'Show us the Father'? (John 14:8-9)
Jesus said to him, "Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." (John 20:29)
As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, (1 Peter 2:2 from the Introit for Easter 2)
For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth; And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God (Job 19:25-26)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. It matters whether God's Word is taught purely. How much sewage would you find acceptable in your drinking water? How much poisonous bacteria in your blood is too much? Just so, how much false doctrine and teaching contrary to what Jesus gives is okay?
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Christ is risen! The words above make it sound like they knew it was the Lord and yet weren't quite sure. Would you be? They knew Jesus had been killed. They saw him two other times before this. The Lord kept appearing to them and to other disciples after His resurrection. It took some time to sink in apparently, that He who had been crucified, wrapped up, and laid in a tomb was now sitting in front of them grilling up some fish!
Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight. (Luke 24:31)
And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen. (Mark 16:20)
Then they said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him." (John 20:13)