Daily Devotion

  • March 27, 2015

     

    Why Have You Forsaken Me?

     

    Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”   Matthew 27:45–46

     

     

    A few years ago, my friend John, who had coached and taught for 30 years, was honored when a new athletic center at his high school was named from him.  Hundreds of current and former students, school officials and friends turned out for the dedication.  When his time came to speak, John’s opening words were, “It’s all about relationships. And the thing that motivates me most is my relationship with Jesus Christ.” 

     

    God is relational. The perfect relationship Jesus shared with God the Father makes His cry from the cross all the more painful to hear. As He hung upon the cross, cloaked in darkness as the Father turned away from Him, the Son of God screamed in anguish: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?”  Jesus’ anguished cry reveal the depth of our Lord’s breaking heart.

     

    Jesus became our sin and endured sin’s penalty:  total separation from God. For those moments that must have seemed like forever, Jesus Christ endured the torment of hell on the cross as He died for us. Why was He forsaken of God? So that you and I might never be!

     

    Today, because Jesus was willing to be forsaken by His Father on the cross, we can have a close, personal, and eternal relationship with God. It’s all about relationships. God loved you so much that He endured the ultimate pain and abandonment so that you can be His forever!

     

    Have a great day and Keep Moving Forward!

  • March 26, 2015

     

    Family Redefined

     

    When Jesus saw His mother and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then He said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.   John 19:26-27

     

     

    Can you imagine the overwhelming grief Mary must have experienced as she watched her Son suffer a horrific death on a cruel cross? She saw the soldiers and crowds mock Jesus.  She watched as they cast lots for Jesus’ clothing. Mary saw the pain and anguish Jesus was enduring. Her heart broke as she helplessly watched the suffering of her Son.  John accompanied Mary in her suffering, and was now responsible to care for her.

     

    Writing some years later, John summarized what he did: “From that hour, the disciple took her to his own home.”

     

    That’s what the English text says.  Here’s what the Greek text says.  John wrote, “From that hour, the disciple took her to his own.”  He just made her his own.  He didn’t just give her a room in his house or a place at his table, or an open invitation to holiday celebrations.  John took Mary to his own family.  Jesus mother became John’s mother.  And John loved Mary because John loved Jesus.

     

    At the cross, Jesus reminds us that He came to expand what family really is.  Believers in Jesus Christ are now joined together as brothers and sisters related by blood - the blood of Jesus!    The church is not like a family; the church is a family, called to minister to each other with the love of Christ. 

     

    Have a great day and Keep Moving Forward!

  • March 25, 2015

      

    Today…In Paradise

     

    One of the criminals who were hanged railed at Him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!”  But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?  And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.”  And he said, “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”  And He said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”    Luke 23:39–43

     

    Every time you see a person with a cigarette held to his lips, you can be assured of one thing: he has ignored a clear warning that smoking cigarettes can kill you.

     

    Cigarettes aren’t the only thing that will kill you.  The truth is, if you don’t smoke, you will still die.  Every day carries with it this warning label: “You will die.”   It’s a guarantee (unless you are alive when Jesus returns!)  For some, however, death is looming just moments ahead.

     

    As Jesus was dying on the cross, two other men, both criminals, were dying with Him. One was unrepentant, slandering and blaspheming Jesus until the very end. The other criminal, however, responded very differently. He acknowledged his own guilt: “We are receiving the due reward of our deeds.” He recognized Jesus’ innocence: “This Man has done nothing wrong.” Most importantly, he asked Jesus to save him: “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”

     

    And the Lord Jesus responded: “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” What a wonderful promise! Though the repentant thief still suffered all the pain of death, he lived his remaining moments with Jesus’ assurance that the instant he died, he would be with Jesus in paradise.

     

    Which thief do you identify with?  Every person reading this is exactly like one of those two thieves crucified on either side of Jesus. We are dying. We are facing eternity. Whether we go to Heaven or Hell depends on one thing alone: what have we done with Jesus?

     

    Which side of the cross are you on: the lost side or the saved side?  The doubting side or the trusting side? The hell-bent side or the heaven-bound side?

     

    Have a great day and Keep Moving Forward!

     

  • March 24, 2015

     

    Father, Forgive Them

     

    And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on His right and one on His left.  And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide His garments. (Luke 23:33–34)

     

    A man in Asia who had come to faith in Jesus Christ faced being ostracized by his family and friends.  But perhaps the hardest thing he had to do as a new disciple of Christ was to forgive a man who had hurt his family deeply.  His mother had been raped by her own nephew – the man’s first cousin.

     

    Can you imagine the anger, the outrage, and even the hatred this man must have felt? Yet, even as a new disciple of Christ, this man knew he needed to forgive his relative for this unthinkable act of violence and betrayal. He prayed, “Jesus, help me to forgive my cousin.” Wonderfully, God gave this man the grace to forgive!

     

    Forgiveness sounds like a great idea until you’re the one who has to do it.   Jesus is our greatest example of forgiveness.  He was surrounded by jeers and mockery and weakened by loss of blood, but the lips of the Lord Jesus were moving during those first minutes on the cross. What was He was saying?  Was He cursing? Was He groaning in pain? No. Come close. You can hear the tender and compassionate voice of the dying Lamb of God, Jesus Christ: “Father, forgive them.”

     

    When humanity was at its absolute worst, Jesus pleaded not for justice and punishment, but for mercy and grace. And remember this: Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive,” not after His wounds had healed, but while they were being opened.

     

    Because Jesus prayed, “Forgive,” we know that God’s forgiveness is available to us today. And, God’s grace and power are available for us to extend forgiveness to others. Who is Jesus calling you to forgive today?

     

    Have a great day and Keep Moving Forward!

  • March 23, 2015

     

    The Father’s Sacrifice

     

     “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.”    John 3:16-17

    In 1937, John Griffith, a drawbridge operator on the Mississippi River, brought his eight-year-old son, Greg to work with him.  After enjoying the morning together, John raised the bridge for the boats to pass under, then he and Greg went and sat on an observation platform to eat.  They were having a great time when John glanced at his watch. At any minute, the Memphis Express train, loaded with 400 passengers, would come barreling down the tracks.

     

    John left his son on the platform and ran to the control tower.  When he looked to make sure no boats were passing under the bridge, he was horrified to see that Greg had fallen from the observation platform, and was now trapped in the gearbox of the drawbridge. His leg was stuck and he couldn’t escape.

     

    John was frantic. There was no time to rescue his son; the train with 400 souls was approaching the bridge too quickly.  With unimaginable pain and grief, John did the only thing he could do:  he pushed the lever to lower the bridge, sacrificing the life of his precious son to save the lives of 400 people who might never know what had taken place, and who had no idea of the price that had just been paid so they could live. 

     

    Two thousand years ago, God sacrificed His Son, Jesus Christ on a cross so you could have eternal life.  Today, slow down and look at the price God paid for you at Calvary and hear God say, “I gave my Son for you.”  Don’t ignore the great price that was paid so you could live.  God gives eternal life to every person who places their faith in Jesus Christ!

     

    Have a great day, and Keep Moving Forward!

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