Posts tagged # Easter
Some of us met together tonight (Wednesday), and we had a good time talking about some of Jesus’ last words, about standing firm until he returns (Luke 21). We also sang and prayed together, and encouraged one another.
This Sunday, our church meeting will be at the regular time, 5pm. Our baptism celebration at 4pm will not happen this week; it is being postponed. J—— would like to be baptized, but an unexpected opportunity came up for him to be with his family this weekend. I expect we’ll reschedule our 4pm service in two weeks, when we can hear his testimony and also take the time to commit our missionaries. I also think those traveling during the next week will be back together by then.
Prepare for worship together. Spread the word. If you are in town Sunday, please invite your friends and neighbors to come with you. Please bring a small dish of food to share for our special dinner.
During our meeting tonight, we prayed for you too. These have been difficult weeks for many of us, and you may be wanting to hide, or you may have entered into “survival mode” (= just makin’ it through the day). Do you wish you could fly away? Maybe you would agree with David’s desire to escape (Ps. 55:6–7):
Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest—
I would flee far away and stay in the wilderness…
David’s circumstances were too much for him to bear. One of David’s close friends had betrayed him (verses 12–14). David had a glimpse of what it was like for Jesus to be betrayed by Judas during this Passion week (the week in Jerusalem before the resurrection; “passion” = suffering).
You also participated in that betrayal. Jesus Christ made you and knows you intimately. Yet, you sin whenever you choose or desire anything other than his righteous path. Your poor choices and desires result in guilt and shame. You cry out to God for salvation from your situation; Jesus cried out on the cross for your salvation from sin. So is it your cry or Jesus’ cry to the Father that brings your salvation? Should you read this psalm like you are David or like his friend-turned-enemy?
Jesus is both David’s son and his superior (Lk. 20:41–44 — another Passion week teaching). King David was a shadow of Jesus Christ, the true King and the true sufferer. He endured the shame of the cross, the curses of the people, the sins of the world, the spit, the flog, the thorns, the pain, the death. The people had declared him guilty and condemned him like a criminal. But God has declared him innocent… by raising him from the dead!
The charges against Christ do not hold up… he is justified! Now anyone who trusts in Christ will be united with him intimately (no matter what situation you’re in or what you feel like). Whatever weighs you down will be brought upon Christ, and it will not hold up, because he is proven innocent. And whatever is true of Jesus Christ will be true of you… you are justified, you are acceptable, you are a son to God! Oh, what sweet exchange!
The Bible is a collection of stories of righteous people falling in terrible ways. You know that it is also the greater story of how God saves us through his Son, Jesus. God will not allow his Son to fall; he looks at him and has the greatest, strongest, most glorious love toward him and his body, the church. Therefore, we actually can be like David, who was also a sinner, when he said (Ps. 55:22):
Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you;
he will never let the righteous fall.
You will not find rest by flying away and hiding. David knew that; so do you. So did Jesus, in fact, because he knew this psalm and lived it. Now Jesus stands before the Father. Fly to Jesus. There is rest and joy for your souls today.
The world of the disciples came crashing down in a mess of suffering and scattering. “You will all fall away,” Jesus told them, “for it is written: ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you…” (Mk. 14:27–28). Jesus told them He would rise again to life, but what man could rise from death?
Oh, but what faith and worship and joy must have flooded their hearts this Sunday morning! “‘Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: “The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.”’ Then they remember his words” (Lk. 24:6–8). He is risen! His words are true! Be revived today and worship! Jesus is God!
The psalmist calls us to worship: “Praise the Lord!” (Ps. 134:1). When the disciples beheld Jesus there, alive, victorious and glorious, they did not need to be commanded to worship; they worshiped.
Praise the Lord!
A song of ascents.
1 Praise the LORD, all you servants of the LORD
who minister by night in the house of the LORD.
2 Lift up your hands in the sanctuary
and praise the LORD.
3 May the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth,
bless you from Zion.
It is finished. The Son of God perfectly obeyed the Father, unto death on a cross. Psalms 132 emphasizes the temple of God, where He was present among His people. On the cross, that old order of things was undone, and the veil of the temple was torn in half, and a new and living way was opened up to us to God, all through Jesus Christ. One temple was destroyed and another was has taken its place: the body of Jesus Christ. His body was broken that we might enter into it and be hid with Him when He ascended to Heaven. God’s presence among His people is not found in any building or on any mountain, or in anything built by human hands. His presence is in His body the church… us. This living temple of God cannot be destroyed. How ready are you to die to self and rise again in Christ, in true and abundant life?
What a good Friday. “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross” (Col. 2:13–15).
Ever singing for joy,
A song of ascents.
1 O LORD, remember David
and all the hardships he endured.
2 He swore an oath to the LORD
and made a vow to the Mighty One of Jacob:
3 “I will not enter my house
or go to my bed—
4 I will allow no sleep to my eyes,
no slumber to my eyelids,
5 till I find a place for the LORD,
a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob.”
6 We heard it in Ephrathah,
we came upon it in the fields of Jaar:
7 “Let us go to his dwelling place;
let us worship at his footstool—
8 arise, O LORD, and come to your resting place,
you and the ark of your might.
9 May your priests be clothed with righteousness;
may your saints sing for joy.”
10 For the sake of David your servant,
do not reject your anointed one.
11 The LORD swore an oath to David,
a sure oath that he will not revoke:
“One of your own descendants
I will place on your throne—
12 if your sons keep my covenant
and the statutes I teach them,
then their sons will sit
on your throne for ever and ever.”
13 For the LORD has chosen Zion,
he has desired it for his dwelling:
14 “This is my resting place for ever and ever;
here I will sit enthroned, for I have desired it—
15 I will bless her with abundant provisions;
her poor will I satisfy with food.
16 I will clothe her priests with salvation,
and her saints will ever sing for joy.
17 “Here I will make a horn grow for David
and set up a lamp for my anointed one.
18 I will clothe his enemies with shame,
but the crown on his head will be resplendent.”
Praise Him for His goodness and mercy, and for His greatness in our midst! We had an extraordinary time of worship and prayer tonight. I wish it was recorded for those who couldn’t attend. I will try to be in touch with you personally, for those who were not there, to follow up on some important things.
With rejoicing and weeping we prayed for D—— and M—— as they are sent on a more permanent mission, to Tucson, Arizona. To all, commit time this week to pray for them and the church, with fasting if you are able. We thank God for the privilege to send off our best.
The celebration of Jesus’ Resurrection, Easter, is coming in two weeks. The time before Easter is a great time for Christians to prepare their hearts for the coming of the Lord. How will Crossroads be doing that this year? Between this Sunday (April 2) and Easter (Sunday, April 16) we will each personally read, meditate, and pray from one psalm a day from the Songs of Ascents. These are the Psalms numbered 120 through 134. We began at the church gathering tonight by reading Psalms 120. You may need to look at that again to begin on the right foot. Take your time reading each of them, to understand how they might prepare you for the coming of the Lord. These Psalms may have been used by Jewish pilgrims as they made their way to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. The first song is an expression of separation from the world, for it is not our home. Be a pilgrim as you read and respond. The Word will take us toward God, heavenward (that is why, in a way, they are called songs of “ascents”). God will carry us through.
I will send out a message daily until Easter, with the next psalm, and with any relevant information about what is happening with the church. Don’t hesitate to reply with what questions you may have.
Together for our Extraordinary God!
A song of ascents.
1 I call on the LORD in my distress,
and he answers me.
2 Save me, O LORD, from lying lips
and from deceitful tongues.
3 What will he do to you,
and what more besides, O deceitful tongue?
4 He will punish you with a warrior’s sharp arrows,
with burning coals of the broom tree.
5 Woe to me that I dwell in Meshech,
that I live among the tents of Kedar!
6 Too long have I lived
among those who hate peace.
7 I am a man of peace;
but when I speak, they are for war.