PASSOVER GREETINGS

Jesus is our Passover

Jesus is our Passover

Praise the LORD! His shed Blood paid the price of our sin and by it we have the forgiveness of sins.

Praise the LORD! His dying in the flesh has freed us from the power of sin in our bodies.

Praise the LORD! By His resurrection our spirit is born again and made a NEW Creations by the regeneration of the Holy Spirit!

Praise the LORD! Now by His Resurrection Life we can walk in Newness of Life as we yield to the Spirit of Life and not our old dead nature.

Praise the LORD! His Resurrection guarantees the resurrection of our bodies in the FIRST Resurrection.

Praise the LORD! We have been saved in our spirit and are being saved in our soul and our bodies will be saved because of Christ’s baptizing us with the Spirit into HIS death, burial and resurrection!

Praise the LORD! Jesus is our Passover!

May the LORD continually bless you as we reflect upon our LORD Jesus Christ’s Passion and Resurrection this Passover Week.     -Jeff Hawkins

From Gethsemane to Glory

Crying in the Garden
Psalm 17 The Messiah’s Prayer

Lest I Forget Gethsemane

Lest I Forget Gethsemane

This is one of six “prayers” of David in the Psalms. The occasion of this prayer is when young David is serving the courts of  maniacal King Saul who is insanely jealous of him. David had been anointed King of Israel by Samuel and had slain Goliath while Saul and his warriors cowered before the giant and the Philistine army. David is innocent of wrongdoing. It was obvious to all that David was truly called of God and destined for greatness. Saul hated him because it meant his own demise. David however did not try to force God’s timing. He waited on the LORD to establish him on the throne and in doing so went through sore trials as he was tested and proven to be worthy of the honor to be given to him. Like his future Son, David suffered first before being elevated to the throne of Israel. “Not my will, but Your will be done.”

This psalm is Messianic in that no one other than the LORD Himself could say the things about himself to the Father as this Psalmist does and be completely truthful. Verse 3 especially brings this out. The righteous and innocent One is seen in this Psalm as He faces the dreadful enemy alone. In the Garden one can hear Jesus’ mournful and desperate prayer as he is faced with the “unthinkable,” the “unspeakable” path before Him. He who knew no sin was about to become sin for all mankind, so that individuals who believe in Him could become righteous before God in Him.

The Prayer divides into three parts, Hear Me (vs. 1-6), Hide Me (vs. 7-12), Help Me (vs.13-15).

On that desperate night before His death Jesus leads his disciples to that familiar place in the Garden of Gethsemane where He had prayed many times before. Leaving most of His disciples at a distance He takes His three closest, Peter, James and John, and goes a bit further. There he asks them to pray with Him as he goes another “stone’s throw” to be alone with the Father. Falling on His face he is very heavy of heart, even terrified of what lies before Him. The prayer begins with a plea to Jehovah for help. The LORD (Jehovah) is the covenant keeping Savior. He has promised to save! He is able to save. The prayer is a plea for God to hear his righteous cause, because God is just. The cry is of one who is in deep distress. It is a pitiful, mournful cry. The picture drawn is that the sound would cause the LORD to “prick up His ears” and “put His hand to his ear” as He ascertains this desperate cry for help from innocent lips and thus come to his aid.

The Petitioner is confident that the LORD would make a right judgment as He looks with equity upon his cause. The Lord has tried his heart and visited him even in the shadows of the night where no one can see and found nothing to accuse him of. Not even his words could be held against him. Only the Lord Jesus could say such a thing! Search me, try me and see if there is any wicked way in me. There was none.

His heart has been through the Refiner’s fire and is purified. Trials and troubles are for this very thing. Fiery trials refine the life of the one who will submit to them. Like gold in the refiner’s fire melts so that the dross can float to the top and be skimmed off, so trials expose weaknesses and sin, so that they can be confessed and cleansed.  Once gold is refined it is then sent to the assayer to determine how pure it is. It again is put through the fire to determine its purity. So too the saint’s faith must be proved to determine its quality. Jesus was tried and proven to be pure. He was “made perfect” through suffering and became “the source of eternal life” for all who would believe in Him.

The deeds of men could not dissuade Jesus from following the “Words of Your Lips.” God’s breathed-out Word kept him off the road of the Destroyer, because he obeyed it. The Words of the Bible will keep us off the broad road of destruction and on the straight and narrow road leading to life if we will listen and obey. Jesus did not wander off God’s path or slip as he walked in His steps . Because of this He could say in verse 6 “I have called and you will answer me. You have turned your ear to me and heard my speech.” Jesus was confident of God hearing his prayer. And the Word of God declares His prayer was answered because of His “piety” (Hebrews 5:7). We can be confident of answered prayer too as we walk in His way, which is according to His Word.

Now in Verses 7 the prayer moves from “Hear Me” to “Hide Me” as the petitioner has to wait on the Lord to do His work in His way and in His time. This is the hard part for all followers of God. It takes time and hard times to be qualified for God’s service. Jesus was tempted in all things as we are yet He did not sin. He tasted death for every man so as to be qualified to be the Mediator between God and man. He “offered up prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard, but He still died! God did not deliver Him from death, but through death. He was qualified to be the believer’s faithful and sympathetic High Priest because of His obedience. (Hebrews 5:7-10) This is the “lovingkindness” of God our “Savior” to those who “take refuge at Your right hand.” God is able! He is strong. In His mercy He is able to deliver through trials those who hide in Him from the enemy. The devil is powerful but God is All-Powerful! Hide in Him!

Jesus was confident of finding safety under the wings of His Savior because He was the “apple of His eye.” These are very affectionate terms. God the Father loves God the Son. In His Son God is “well-pleased.” The Son knows the Father’s love and would cry out “Abba” Daddy! in His hour of trial (Mark 14:36). The “wicked one” desires to ‘waste” the righteous. He is a cold hearted and arrogant enemy who surrounds the righteous one. The wicked one speaks arrogantly at the cross and in the future he will “boast great things” and raise himself up as God in the throne room of God. As Saul desired to hold onto the throne of God, the evil one will seek to hold on to the kingdom of this world. He desired to “cast down” the Savior as He died on the cross of Calvary, but God heard His cry above the roar of the lion lying in wait and seeking to devour him and cast him down to the ground (vs.11,12). Like our Savior we can find “shelter” in the LORD and hide from the one who is seeking to kill us, destroy us and steal our reward.

So David’s future Son continued to cry out “HELP ME” to Jehovah, asking Him to “rise up” and “confront” the enemy and “bring him low.” “Use your sword Lord and let my soul slip out of the hands of the wicked one” (vs 13)! “Deliver me with Your hands from those who are satisfied in this fleeting moment of time who put all their hope in this life (vs.14)!”

Jesus looked past Gethsemane and Golgotha to Glory. Unlike people who are satisfied with this life and have no view of eternity Jesus had His eyes on the face of God. He calls all who believe in Him to do the same (1 John 3:1-3). “If you do not hate your father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, even your own life, you can not be My disciple.” We can hear Jesus in the Garden of Despair saying with Job, “even though You slay me, yet will I worship You!” “I am satisfied with knowing that I will wake from death in Your likeness.” Jesus found strength in the resurrection, the prize of the upward call of God. He knew that God would deliver Him! Glory followed Gethsemane and Golgotha.

Early in the morning of that fateful day, Jesus got up and faced the unflinching enemy of man’s soul and His Throne. The Lion lurking in the shadows sprang upon his prey and sank his teeth deep into the flesh of the Son of Man. Humiliating Jesus before the world, he drained the life-blood from Him thinking he had finally defeated the ONE, only to discover that this very precious Blood, the blood of God, was the very atonement God required to deliver all who call upon the Name of His One and Only Son, Jesus Christ the LORD.

Jesus cried out to God and He was heard and God hid Him and helped Him to face the terrible death of the cross so that we who cry out to Him in faith would be saved from the penalty, power and, someday, the very presence of sin.

Now this is a prayer to pray and praise the Lord about!

The Kingdom of God: What is it?

Thy Kingdom ComeThe news today is full of discouraging items, everything from legalizing drugs, to celebrating sexual depravity, to the continuing murder of countless children in the womb and so much more.

We believers in Jesus Christ, sons and daughters of His Kingdom,  live in the “kingdom of darkness.” I tend to forget that. As a Bible believing Christian I should know this and not be so surprised when culture and the world run headlong into Hell. Adam’s flesh is fallen. It is dead to God and righteousness. The unsaved are “children of the devil.” The governments of this world are under the control of the “god of this world.”  We are between two worlds, two kingdoms, the kingdom of darkness and the coming Kingdom of Light.

So when I remember this, I must ponder and think deeply about the Kingdom that I do belong to. It is a Kingdom that is not here, yet. It is my “hope.” And this HOPE is sure. We are taught to pray, “Your Kingdom come,” because it is still future, but it is for sure. We are to be “groaning for” and longing for this kingdom, eagerly waiting for it with perseverance (Romans 8:18-25).  By God’s Grace in Jesus Christ, I am a member of this Kingdom. I have been transferred from the “dominion of darkness into the Kingdom of Light” because I am now “in Christ.” I belong to the “Kingdom of His dear Son.” I am a citizen of this heavenly kingdom because I have been “born again.” Jesus tells us to enter into the Kingdom “you must be born again.”  We must be regenerated, that is new life, eternal life. That Life only comes as a result of believing in the One and Only Lord Jesus Christ who then gives us His Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Life.

We hear the term “Kingdom” used all the time in Evangelical circles today. “We are building the Kingdom of God.” We “expand the Kingdom of God.” We are “doing Kingdom work.” We say things like, “the Kingdom of God is in us.” I remember being taught in Bible school six different kingdoms that God rules over: the universal kingdom (God’s sovereign rule over the whole universe); the spiritual kingdom (believers individually and corporately the church); the theocratic kingdom (Israel); the Mystery Kingdom (Christendom); the Messianic Kingdom (Millennium); the Eternal Kingdom. This can get real confusing, especially when you have to really “stand on your head” to get all this from the Bible.

In fact the Bible, God’s Word to us today, only speaks of ONE Kingdom. That is the Kingdom of Christ, God or Heaven. It is the Kingdom promised to Abraham and his offspring by covenant. It is the Kingdom that God promised to David’s Son, the One David calls “LORD.” It is the Kingdom that the prophets all spoke of as the hope of Israel and the “covenant of Peace” and the “mercies of David.” It is embodied in the “New Covenant” prophesied by Jeremiah and seen in the “Son of Man” in Daniel. Hosea said that one day Israel will be restored to the land promised to Abraham when Messiah “will sow her for Myself in the land. I will also have compassion on her who had not obtained compassion, and I will say to those who were not My people, You are My people! And they will say, “You are my God!” God promised Abraham and therefore Israel the Kingdom of God. But the only way they were going to realize it was when Messiah came and restored them to it. The angels announced the birth of Messiah, prophets and prophetesses rejoiced! John the Baptizer was given as the Elijah “preparing the way of the Lord.” He came preaching, “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is near!” Jesus, the Messiah preached the same thing and taught His disciples to preach the same. The Kingdom was at hand, it was near! Messiah was here, but only a prepared people could receive the Kingdom. Repentance and faith was required, then and now.

When Israel rejected their Messiah the Kingdom was postponed. They killed Messiah as ordained by God, because He had to die for their sins and the sins of the whole world. But the disciples continued to anticipate the DAY when the Kingdom would come. The Day when Messiah would establish His throne in Israel, destroy their enemies and rule the whole world in righteousness from his father David’s throne. Jesus taught them this. For three and a half years He explained how to be prepared for the Kingdom in the many parables and who could enter in. When He rose from the dead He spent the next 40 days with his apostles explaining the Kingdom of God to them further (Acts 1:3) and before He ascended to the right hand of the Father they asked Him when He would establish this promised theocratic, Davidic Kingdom. And He said it was not for them or us to know, but until then we were to be His witnesses (martyrs) taking the Gospel of the Kingdom to the whole world until His return. He said to them in Matthew to “Make Disciples! of everybody, everywhere until I return.”

Friends, we are looking for a Kingdom not made with Hands, one that will come from Heaven when Jesus returns. When the King comes this next time, the Kingdom in Heaven will be established here on earth as it is in Heaven.

Let us be found faithful, enduring to the end, so that we and those who believe our message may share in the Prize of the Upward Call of Christ Jesus in His Kingdom.

Revelations 22
vs 7  “And behold, I am coming suddenly. Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book”
vs. 12, 13 “Behold, I am coming suddenly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
vs. 16 “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”
vs. 20 …”Yes, I am coming suddenly!”

BE READY!

 

 

 

DON'T FOLLOW YOUR HEART!

In the morning will I seek You

In the morning will I seek You

Reading in the Gospel of Mark this morning and came across a principle we all need to remember in chapter 7:1-23.

The Principle is that we are NOT to follow our “hearts” but instead we are to follow/obey the Word of God.

That means, no matter how good or right something “feels” to us we must obey the Word of God. The religious leaders of Jesus’ day were putting their traditions above the Word of God (It felt right to them), but Jesus condemned this notion/excuse for not obeying the Word of God.

The heart (emotions) is deceitful and wicked! Who can really understand it? Jeremiah 17:9

And this is why we must “Diligently GUARD your heart, for out of it spring the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23

Our hearts, our emotions are very fickle and very delicate. We have to keep a close eye upon them. DO NOT run by your emotions. Let the truth, the principles of the Word of God guide your steps and decisions of life.

“He that has an ear to hear, LISTEN UP!” Jesus, Mark 7:16

Jeff Hawkins is the director of HIMAfrica and HIMIndia, associate ministries with Hope Builders Ministries.

DON’T FOLLOW YOUR HEART!

In the morning will I seek You

In the morning will I seek You

Reading in the Gospel of Mark this morning and came across a principle we all need to remember in chapter 7:1-23.

The Principle is that we are NOT to follow our “hearts” but instead we are to follow/obey the Word of God.

That means, no matter how good or right something “feels” to us we must obey the Word of God. The religious leaders of Jesus’ day were putting their traditions above the Word of God (It felt right to them), but Jesus condemned this notion/excuse for not obeying the Word of God.

The heart (emotions) is deceitful and wicked! Who can really understand it? Jeremiah 17:9

And this is why we must “Diligently GUARD your heart, for out of it spring the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23

Our hearts, our emotions are very fickle and very delicate. We have to keep a close eye upon them. DO NOT run by your emotions. Let the truth, the principles of the Word of God guide your steps and decisions of life.

“He that has an ear to hear, LISTEN UP!” Jesus, Mark 7:16

Jeff Hawkins is the director of HIMAfrica and HIMIndia, associate ministries with Hope Builders Ministries.