AN EASTER STUDY L [LEADER’S GUIDE]

CHAPTER 4 – JESUS’ MINISTRY CONTINUES
Looking at Matthew 4:23-25, these verses summarize the first three years of Jesus’ ministry.

Where had Jesus traveled? Throughout all Galilee
What did He do? What kinds of diseases were healed?

He healed every kind of sickness and illness. Jesus for three years now, has healed, performed miracles, and told parables. The priests and religious leaders were growing more and more upset with Jesus as he continued His ministry. Not long before Jesus rides into Jerusalem on a donkey; a man by the name of Lazarus, whose sisters were Mary and Martha whom Jesus had made friends with and often visited them in Bethany where they lived, had become sick. Bethany is about two miles from Jerusalem.
Jesus was asked to come, but was delayed and Lazarus died and was buried several days before Jesus arrived. We find the account of this story in John 11: 1-57.
Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, was a miracle.
Read in class starting with verse 45-57. “Many of the people who with Mary ……………….”

What does verse 53 say? They plot to kill Jesus.

Read Mark 10:32-34: Where are Jesus and the disciples? On their way to Jerusalem

What does Jesus tell His disciples? What was soon to take place, denied, beaten sentenced, killed etc.

John 12: 1-11: When is this happening? 6 Days before Passover must be Saturday before Palm Sunday

Where are they at? Home of Mary & Martha, and Lazarus that he had raised from the dead, he is still living.

What happens here? Mary anointed Jesus

What was the biggest complaint in Mary anointing Jesus? It was very expensive perfume and she used the whole bottle

What do you think the first part of verse 7 means? Leader: what do think?

What is the reaction of the leading priest and why? Angered because so many were following Jesus
How does this anointing compare with the good news of the cross? What ways are they alike?
Mary gave all she had and Jesus died for all 100% everybody and asks for more comparisons
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What happens in verse 10? Decide to kill Lazarus also

John 12: 12 reads what? The next day, the news that Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem swept through the city.
Read Mark 11: 1-11. {Can also read John 12:12-19}
What day of the week do we think this is and why? Sunday, it is the next day after 6 days before Passover.

What do we call this day today and the week that follows? Palm Sunday

“So Jesus came to Jerusalem and went into the temple. After looking around CAREFULLY AT EVERYTHING, He left because it was late in the afternoon. Then he returned to Bethany with the twelve disciples.

CHAPTER 5

HOLY WEEK JOURNEY BEGINS (PALM SUNDAY)

THE COLT (Mark ll:1-11)

The crowd sought to give Jesus a welcome as a conquering King like they gave Solomon and David after a military victory and like they gave Simon Maccabeus just 150 years earlier when he entered Jerusalem. He had won back the city of Jerusalem from its enemies as is told in the book First Maccabeus 13:51.
The people shouted, they spread garments on the ground before Him, exactly as they had done when Jehu (II Kings 8: 13) was anointed King. (Psalm 118:26) says “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” Another name for “Messiah” is “He who comes.”

WHAT A WEEK, LORD! A week which began in glory and joy and rejoicing,
A week when praises rang out to welcome You as king.
What a jubilant feeling one would have experienced to be in that crowd…They sang – they shouted – they spread their coats – they waved the branches. But did they really understand who You were? Did they
have any idea? Did anyone really understand that in the days ahead You would be the sacrifice, that You were the promise and that You would bring the gift of life? [From The Holy WeekJourney]
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Did they understand who Jesus was? Verse 16 no,

Did they have any idea? Only after the resurrection

Did any understand what would happen that week? Seems like no

Did they know Jesus was not going to rule as King of Kings? no

Read Mark 11:12-14 —-THE DAY AFTER PALM SUNDAY——-
The next morning they were leaving Bethany for Jerusalem, Jesus was hungry {Mark 11:12-14.}
He noticed a fig tree and Holy week begins with this event. The week goes on with Jesus telling stories, doing miracles, and telling parables; such as the parable of the two sons, the evil farmer, the wedding dinner, the ten virgins, which in this study we will not look at.
Before going further, we need to consider two more scriptures. John 12:37 …”but despite all the miraculous signs Jesus had done, most people still did not believe in him. In John 12: 44-50
Jesus summarizes His message—”If you trust me, you are not only trusting me, but also God who sent me. I have come as a light to shine in the darkness, so that all who trust me will no longer remain in the dark…………..BUT all who reject me and my message will be judged on the day of judgment by the truth I have spoken…………..The Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to say it. And I [Jesus] know His commands lead to Eternal Life.”[word Jesus added by me]

THE WEEK CONTINUED…
You cleared the temple, You healed the blind and lame,
You taught the people,
You warned the religious leaders and called them hypocrites,
You told of what was to come…[From The Holy Week Journey]

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[It is amazing all that Jesus did this week of His death.]

Let’s look at some of these events during the week before Easter.

HE CLEARED THE TEMPLE (Matthew 21:12-19) {read these verses}
How and why did the temple need cleaning? Corrupt thing were happening cheating etc.

What is meant by “cleaning the temple”? Rid of buying selling, corruption, money changers etc.

Verse 12) – What happened in this verse? Began by throwing out those buying/selling animals for sacrifice

Verse 13)- What did Jesus say the temple should be? A place of prayer

Verse 15)- What did the chief priest and religious leaders do when they heard of the cleaning of the Temple? They got upset about children praising God after Jesus healed the blind and lame in temple.

Where does Jesus say His temple is today? (I Corinthians 6:19-20) our bodies

HE HEALED THE BLIND AND THE LAME (Mark 8:22-26)

How do these accounts of healing the blind differ? {read and discuss}
Read, discuss: Matthew 9:27-31 inside a house2 blind men, followers believed, touched their eyes

Mark 8:22-26 one blind begged to be touched, away from others Jesus touched, spit

Mark 10:46-52 a beggar, only spoke no touch, told what he wanted, by faith believing

John 4:46-54 son dying, healed from a distance because believed

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How or what can we learn from these healing?

When Jesus healed it was not in any set robotic way, not the same every time. Sometimes Jesus touched the person, sometimes medicine, sometimes more than one time to touch, sometime people came on their own, other times people brought them, in healing one, Jesus just simply spoke “your son will live” even though the lad was a great distance away
When the healing happens gradually, I think it is symbolic to the fact that no one sees all of God’s truth at one time. When one accepts Christ, it is very seldom one instantly becomes a full grown Christian.
Do you agree with last sentence?

CHAPTER 6
HE TAUGHT THE PEOPLE [Remember this is the week He is going to die,
He teaches:

FROM DEATH COMES LIFE (John 12:23-26) – A paradox

What is the amazing paradox in this teaching? From death comes life only by spending life do we get it only by service comes greatness

Story of wheat (corn in New King James) and bearing more wheat
First become last and last first [Mark 10:41-45]

HE TAUGHT SALVATION (BEING BORN AGAIN) (Matthew 5:3-6) (John 3:3} Comments?
Do you see similarities between these two scriptures?

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HE TAUGHT DISCIPLESHIP
Read—- (Matthew 16:24-26 and 10:37-39; Mark 8:34-37; Luke 9:23-27]
Jesus teaches this theme of the challenge of the Christian life. These Scriptures point out at least three things one must do to live the Christian life.

What are these Scriptures telling us is necessary for discipleship?
Must deny oneself – Matt.16:24; Mark8:34; John 12:25 A Lenten style self denial given up for a short time is not what is meant here. Jesus is asking that every moment one must say no to self and yes to God. Ourselves can no longer be the most important thing in our life.
Each person must take up their own cross. Matt.10:38; Mark 8:34 we must take on a burden of sacrifice, abandon personal ambitions until it does not feel like a sacrifice. This is most often done in service to others. Luke adds, we must do this Daily every moment of every hour of every year. It is not a life seeking sacrifices, but a life aware of God’s demand and the needs of others.
Each must follow Jesus Christ : Matthew 16:24; Mark 8:34. Matt.16:24; Mark 8:34 must follow Jesus to live a Christian life, to seek perfect obedience to Him, much like the child’s game of follow the leader. William Barclay said “It is those who are prepared to bet life itself that there is a God, who in the end fined it.” Any comments on this quote?

Comment on discipleship – speak about knowing, believing, doing, encouraging, putting others first and also what we will discuss in another chapter on servant hood and humility.

What does it mean to you to believe in Jesus in your own words?

How does Jesus teach His people today?

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CHAPTER 7 – HE WARNED THE RELIGIOUS LEADERS
JESUS WARNED THE RELIGIOUS LEADERS AND CALLED THEM HYPOCRITES
(Mark 8:11-13; Matthew 23:13, 15-26; Luke 20:45-47)

(Mark 8:11-13) The generation in which Jesus taught looked for God to be supernatural. At that time there were lots of false Messiahs luring people by promising astonishing signs. They promised they could part the Jordan, or bring down walls with a word. This was the kind of sign the Pharisees were asking from Jesus. Jesus said they do not desire to see the hand of God because they are blind to see who God is. To Jesus, the whole world was full of signs such as ears of corn in the field, flowers on the hill etc.. “The sign of a true Christian is not that they come to church to find God, but that they find God everywhere and not make a great deal of sacred places, but they sanctify common place.” [William Barclay] Comments:

What does this poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning say to you?
Earth is crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes,
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Why were they called hypocrites? (Matthew 23:13, 15-36) Here there are seven woes* [reasons, leveled against the scribes and Pharisees.
Matthew 23:13 – Not letting others enter the Kingdom of Heaven and not entering yourselves
Matthew 23:15 – Converting people away from God to be like yourselves
Matthew 23:16-22 – Blindly leading God’s people to follow man-made traditions instead of God’s Word
Matthew 23:23-24 – Involving you in every last detail and ignoring what is really important: justice, mercy, and faith
Matthew 23:24-26 – Keeping up appearances while your private world is corrupt
Matthew 23:27-28 – Acting spiritual to cover up sin
Matthew 23:29-36 – Pretending to have learned from past history, but your present behavior shows you have learned nothing
*This list of woes comes from The New Living Testament Chronological Life Application Study Bible, 2nd edition, page 1444.

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JESUS TOLD WHAT WAS TO COME (John 8:21-30)
He told them he was going away – they would search but not find Him.

What should this tell us? Some opportunities come and do not return.-to everyone is given the opportunity to accept Jesus, that opportunity can be refused and lost. Our life time is limited; no one knows how long it is. Romans 12:3 everyone is given a measure of faith, enough to believe.

Where did some then think He was going? To commit suicide

Where was Jesus going that they could not follow? He was returning to His Father in heaven

What did Jesus say is the consequence of refusing? They would die in their sins

Read Luke 21:5-24) He foretold that the day of the Lord was coming with wrath
Has this been fulfilled? No

Read verses Luke 21: 5-6; 20-24)
Has this been fulfilled? Yes, in AD 70

(Read verses Luke 21: 27 & 28)
Has this been fulfilled? no

(Read verses Luke 21: 12-37)
We see in these verses Jesus tells what is shortly to happen and some things that will not until the latter days. Comments:

These are 4 parables as what believers are to be doing during the time before Jesus will come again. In this study, we will not discuss them, but read them when you can. Jesus told them Holy Week.

Matt. 24:45-51; A faithful servant
25:1-13; Ten Brides men, [Christians]
25:14-30; Parable of three servants
25:31-46. The final judgments sheep and goats]

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Thursday of Holy Week – MEAL WITH HIS DISCIPLES
What is this meal sometimes called? The lord supper or communion or Passover meal [List
comments or questions that stand out to you now, or over the years, in the following verses.]

The following pages are the core of this Easter study.

Preparation (Mark 14:12-16; Luke 22:1-6]

Feet washing, teaching humility and servant hood [John 13:3-19]

Meal begins: [Luke 22:14-15]

Communion: [Mark 14:22-24]

Jesus troubled: [John 13:21]

Jealousy breaks out (Luke 22:23-30)

Judas revealed [John 13: 23-20]

Warns of further desertion (Matthew 26:31-35; Mark 14:27-31]

Offer comments or questions that stand out to you now, or over the years, in the above?

AFTER THE MEAL

Sang a hymn and left: Mark 14:26

Crosses the Kidron Valley: John 18:1

All will desert and Peter to deny: Mark 14:27-31

Any comments?

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BETWEEN THE PASSOVER MEAL AND THE GARDEN OF GETHSEMANE Jesus teaches.
[Remember Jesus knows he is on the way to die]

JESUS TEACHES: [Jesus continues to teach the disciples up to the time of the resurrection]
[Read these verses and spend some time having comments and questions]

The way to God: John 14: 1-14

The promises of the Holy Spirit John 14:15-23

About vine and the branches John 15:1-17

Warns about world hatred John 15:18-16:4

About the Holy Spirit John 16:5-15

About using His name in prayer John 16: 16-33

AGONY IN THE GARDEN:

Prays for Himself John 17:1-5

Prays for his disciples John 17:6-19

Prays for future believers John 17:20-26

Write down your comments and questions on the above scriptures.

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THE WEEK TURNED UGLY…
Men plotted Your death, even as You celebrated the passion meal with Your disciples,
one had already agreed to betray You.
What were Your thoughts, O, Lord, as You prepared for your death?
The time in Gethsemane must have been difficult…Your disciples
could not stay awake to be with you.
You knew the bitterness of the cup of sacrifice ahead…Your prayers to
Your Father were revealing, as You submitted to His will. And then Judas brought the enemy, and You were taken away. [The Holy Week journey]
FRIDAY CALLED GOOD [Use the NLT] for readability.
[The following verses, read in order listed, offers a very good order of events, it is from all four Gospels] You might assign 4 people to read; one to read Matthew one Mark one Luke and one John in the way they are listed and do it without pause or comment for a vivid effect of the event.]

At Gethsemane Mark 14:32-42; John 18:2-11; Luke 22:51

Questioned by Annas John 18:12-24

Questioned by Caiaphas Mark 14:53-65

Peter denies John 18:25-27

Council meets Mark 15:1

Judas hangs himself Matthew 27:3-10

Jesus before Pilate John 18:28-37

Jesus before Herod Luke 23:8-12

Jesus back to Pilate John 18:38-40; Matthew 27:18-24; John 19:1-16

Jesus mocked by soldiers Matthew 27:27-31

Led to cross Matthew 27:32
Simon carries cross Mark 15:1

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Jesus on cross Matthew 27:33-37; Luke 23:32-43

Women at cross John 19:25-27

Jesus dies Matthew 27:45-55; Mark 15:40-41; Luke 23:44-49;
John19: J28-30

Side pierced John 19:31-37

Put in tomb John 19:38-42

Guards posted Matthew 25:

THE WEEK GETS WORSE…
As you are tried and convicted and sentenced to death; as Your beloved Peter does, indeed, deny You.
You were innocent and wrongly accused – yet no one came to Your defense;
You were beaten and mocked and led to be crucified. O my Lord – were I there, would I have understood the depth of Your love?
Would I have understood that my sins helped to nail You to the cross?
Would I have understood that it took the perfect Love to pay the price for even my
smallest sin? Would I have understood that Your death was my only hope for salvation?

In front of Pilate, does it seem to you that Pilate is on trial, not Jesus?
John 18: 28-40; John 19: 1-16

What does Jesus say about His kingdom? [John 18:36]

Why does Jesus tell us He came into the world? [John: 18: 37]

What do you think Pilate was saying in John 19, verse 5 after Jesus had been severely beaten
Almost in heroic fashion, I think Pilate sees the majesty of Jesus, His heroism. Jesus is indeed this in the statement (verse 5) “Behold the Man”! Do you agree or not?

Do we Christians face any wrong doing in this world today and refuse to defend what the word of God says?
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Write down any comment or questions on the arrest, trial, conviction – about Pilate or Herod or the crowd from the following verses:
Judas’ betrayal – Luke 22:47-48 Jesus before Pilate – Luke 23:1-24
Peter’s denial – Luke 22: 54-62 Wrongly accused – Luke 23:14-16
ON THE CROSS There is no worse way to die than by crucifixion. It was the most dreaded death in the world. It was used only on slaves and criminals, never in Rome and only in the provinces and never on a Roman citizen. Once condemned to the cross, it was done right then and there and the condemned was required to carry his own cross. There was always terrible scourging, as well as cursing and poking, etc. along the road and the condemned were led through as many streets as possible. This was done so if anyone could speak up and witness in the condemned favor; and, if so, the procession was stopped
And the case retried. Two others were crucified at the same time (both criminals)

First three hours on the cross [read] (Matthew 27:46; Luke 23:32-43; John 19:26-28, 30)

Jesus words on the cross:
Forgive Today thou shall be with me in paradise
My God, why has Thou forsaken me I thirst It is finished
Mother your son, son your mother Into Your hands I commend my spirit
Write any comments or questions you have.

The last three hours on the cross (Luke 23:44-49) “It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.’ When He had said this, He breathed His last. The Centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, ‘Surely this was a righteous man.’ When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. But all those who knew Him, including the women who had followed Him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.” (NIV)There was great darkness when Jesus died.

I think these are the most important three hours in all history!!! Do You?

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Temple veil was rent in two (Discuss the importance)

What is the importance of the veil being rent in two?
The veil separated the Holy of Hollies from the rest of the temple – a place where only the high priest could enter, and that was only once a year – for this was the place of the presence of God

Jesus cries with a loud voice
What type of cry do you think Jesus made when He said “it is finished?”
Was it a cry of victory much like hearing the Notre Dame Victory march………..or was it sad, an
almost defeating cry?
In what way were the soldiers and the crowd deeply moved?

Jesus mother was at the cross and saw Him die. [does that play on your heart?

Jesus’ life was one of much prayer. He was praying when He was baptized, often in His ministry, and also now, when he is dying He prays. Jesus dies with the prayer,
“Father, into Your hand I commend my Spirit.”

CHAPTER 11 – AFTER CHRIST DIED
Looking at John 19:38-42
It was almost time for the Sabbath to begin and then no work could be done. They needed to hurry with a burial.
Who came forward to help with the burial? Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus

What does the Bible tell us about these two men? Nicodemus came by night to find out how to be saved. Joseph was a secret follower of Jesus

Do we also fail to pay tribute until people are dead?

Read John 19:38-42. What do you think happened in the hearts of these men? Why do you say that? The certainly became bolder and braver in expressing their belief

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How has knowing Christ’s death on the cross made a difference in your life?
What was accomplished on the cross?

Theologically – empowerment – gave eternal life – a gift – with God (a right relationship with man)

PRAY: Pray: O my Lord – were I there, would I have understood the depth of Your love – would I have understood that my sins helped to nail You to the cross? Would I have understood that it took the perfect Love to pay the price for even my smallest sin? Would I have understood that Your death was my only hope for salvation? From (THE HOLY WEEK JOURNEY

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A NEW DAY DAWNED

The following verses are summarized in the paragraphs below:
WOMEN VISIT (Luke 24:1-11; Mark 16:1-8; Matthew 28:1-10)
JESUS APPEARS TO MARY MAGDALENE (Mark 16:9-11; John 20:1-18)
PETER AND JOHN SEE EMPTY TOMB (Mark 20:10; John 20:10)
WALK TO EMMAUS (Luke 24:13-35)
JESUS APPREARS (Matthew 24:36-43; John 20:19-25)

AT THE TOMB THREE DAYS LATER
The first eye witnesses to see that He was not in the tomb were Mary Magdalene, the other Mary, and the other women who had come to anoint His body.
Mary was at the tomb weeping, looking for the body of Christ and saw it nowhere. Through rivers of tears as she turned away from where His body should have been, she noticed a man. Thinking it was the gardener, she heard Him speak (not knowing it was Jesus), “Why do you weep, whom do you seek?” Mary, her head bowed down through a sad, sobbing heart said, “Sir, if you have removed the body, tell me where you have put Him and I will take Him away.” Mary was weak, sad, tired; she probably had not eaten the past three days.
When Jesus speaks again, “Mary,” Mary knew His voice (the sheep know the Good Shepherd’s voice). When we come seeking God, and when we hear His voice, we too should answer, “Lord, Master.” His voice startled her, but she knew it was He who had spoken to her. Mary had come early to mourn and anoint Jesus’ body at the tomb, but she found Him walking in the newness of Resurrected life. Now she worships Him. We also should know Jesus has risen. He no longer wears grave clothes. We, also, should get out of our grave clothes of the dead, silent, unfruitful life we are in. In John 20:1-7, Mary came to Simon Peter and another disciple saying that “they have taken Jesus’ body and I do not know where”. The other disciple got to the tomb first, saw the linen cloths, but did not go in. Simon Peter came, saw the linen cloths (v.7) “and the handkerchief (face cloth) that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself.”
Is there significance in the facecloth being folded and lying separate?[leaders there is a story here, look it up]
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THE WALK TO EMMAUS (Luke 24:13-35)
On the day of the Resurrection, Cleopas and one of Christ’s disciples were walking together to Emmaus, a city seven miles away from Jerusalem, when another man joined them in their walk. The first two men were sad, cast down, because Jesus had died. They had been sure Jesus was the Messiah. As they walked, they recalled the events of the past week. They had been there on Palm Sunday as Jesus came into Jerusalem. They recalled the night Jesus revealed that one of the twelve was to betray Him. But, what did Jesus mean as they shared the bread and the drink as He said “I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the day I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom”?
Christ was asking them, and us, to remember His death and Resurrection. Never did Jesus tell us to remember His birth or celebrate the miracles He performed. Only this, His death, His redemption of mankind by way of the cross would be the memorial that tells us of God’s love. Just as Jesus came to the sad, grieving Mary and desiring to console and be her friend, He walks up to the two travelers as they, too, are saddened by all that has happened. The two were deep in thought as they listened (not aware that it was Jesus) as He explained the prophetic scripture to them. These two men had seen Jesus die; they had been at the foot of the cross. The two were confused when, just a few days ago, they had heard Jesus, with their own ears, say “Whosoever believes in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live”. Jesus had died. What did this all mean? It was getting dark and the two asked the stranger to spend the night with them, or at least share their evening meal.
The stranger stayed and sat down for the meal. The stranger took the bread, gave thanks, and broke the bread. At once the two men knew who the stranger was. I do not know if when He reached for the bread and broke it they saw the nail holes in His hands, or if they just knew. But with their own eyes they had seen Him. And Scripture said they ran (not walked) the seven miles back to Jerusalem with the same news Mary had made earlier in the day. “I have seen the Lord”
The other disciples also saw Jesus after the resurrection, but Thomas was not with them and when told Christ was alive, He doubted and proclaimed, “I don’t believe you.” Eight days later Thomas got his proof. Jesus speaks directly to Thomas, and to us, “be not faithless, but believing.”

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Peter also believed; however, Peter was still troubled and feeling guilty over denying Christ. When Peter was deeply troubled he would go fishing! And you know the rest of the story. Now, over breakfast, Jesus gives Peter three opportunities to be sorry, to repent and to profess his faith. Peter does, and Jesus says “I FORGIVE, FEED MY SHEEP!”
Jesus comes to us just like He did to His friends after the resurrection.

To Mary He came when she was sad, lonely, depressed and called her name.

Jesus came to the two men when they were disappointed and fellow-shipped with them and He shared a meal.

Jesus came to Thomas, when Thomas doubted.

Jesus came to Peter, when Peter needed forgiveness. [These witnesses all believed!]

He comes to us where we are and offers us what we need.

We have often heard what Christ’s last words on the cross were. I have thought about five of Jesus’ words after His Resurrection. See how they may apply to us…

“Why are you weeping” – it shows He cares for our sorrows

“Mary” – He knows us by name

“What’s on your mind” – what are you contemplating – He cares about our daily life

“Know Me and believe” – that is His desire for us – to know Him

“I forgive” – said HE to me and to you

To whom these words were spoken, they all believed. DO YOU? DO I?
–THINK ABOUT IT.
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Any comments:

Let God use this Lenten Season to awaken a thankful heart for His suffering, death, and resurrection.

THE GREAT COMMISSION
(Luke 24:44-49; Matthew 28:16-20; Mark 16:14-18]

What are these verses sometimes called? The great commission

Write down the Great Commission in your own words.

THE ASCENSION
(Luke 24:50-53; Mark 16:19-20)

ALLELUIA! CHRIST IS RISEN!

ALLELUIA! CHRIST IS RISEN!

HE IS RISEN, INDEED!!!

MANY WEEKS HAVE PASSED…and over 2000 years.
The disciples did understand that You had triumphed over sin and death…
and they spread the good news that it is indeed You who brings life.
And we can understand. May we study the Scriptures…read of Your works and
actions…read of the promises proclaimed…read of the Holy Spirit amongest
us…read the firsthand witness of your disciples. (from THE HOLY WEEK JOURNEY)

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Jesus asked the disciples,
Who do people say I am? [Mark 8:27-29]

Do I understand who Jesus was? [Who He is?]

Did Jesus live, or is He a legend?

Do I believe He actually lived? (John 1:1-14; Luke 2:8-12)

If I believe He lived, do I believe He died?

If He died, do I know what His death promises?

If He arose, what does that mean, if anything?

Am I ready to confess with my mouth and believe in my heart and trust Jesus with all my life?
Read–Romans 10:9-10)

May we read and study and hear all these things – may our faith grow,
and with all the faithful may we proclaim each day…He is risen. He is risen Indeed. (From THE HOLY WEEK JOURNEY)

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Consider sincerely the message in the following hymn by Benjamin H. Price.

1. It was alone the Savior prayed
In dark Gethsemane;
Alone, He drained the bitter cup
And suffered there for me.

Alone, alone,
He bore it all alone;
He gave Himself to save His own,
He suffered, bled and died alone, alone.

2. It was alone the Savior stood
In Pilates’ judgment hall;
Alone the crown of thorns He wore,
Forsaken thus by all.

3. Alone upon the cross He hung
That others He might save;
Forsaken then by God and man.
Alone, His life He gave.

4. Can you reject such matchless love?
Can you His claim disown?
Come; give your all in gratitude,
Nor leave Him thus alone

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If you wish to now follow Jesus’ call to “Come unto Me” and receive Eternal Life, ask God to forgive all your wrong doings and confess that you believe He died and arose for you. Pray the following prayer [or better yet] pray using your own words. God will hear and answer you.

God in Heaven, Creator of all things – I have read, studied and listened as to how You sacrificed Your only begotten Son, born of the Holy Spirit, to die on a cross in my place.
God, I know Jesus bore the terrible torture of the cross, the horrible experience for me, because You love me.
I now confess to you all my sins, all my wrongdoings and I ask
you, Jesus, to come into my heart and make me part of the family of God, with the hope and promise of Eternal Life in Heaven.

I believe in my heart and confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord.

Thank You, Jesus, and help me in living my new life in You.

In Jesus’ name, Amen

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AFTER THE MEAL ON MAUNDY THURSDAY

Jjrein
April 14, 2017 ·
AFTER THE MEAL ON MAUNDY THURSDAY
The last sharing of the bread is over and Jesus and the 11 sing a hymn and leave the upper room, go out into the street and across the Kidron Valley. On their way to Gethsemane, which they get to later, Jesus teaches them much of what is found in John (Chapters 13-17), some of them, perhaps, wondering where Judas is and what he is doing, probably not knowing he had already agreed with Caiaphas to betray Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.
Jesus and the 11 disciples moved to a spot in the Garden of Gethsemane. Here they wait, the 11 not knowing why. Jesus, on purpose, waits for a meeting with destiny. Jesus could have easily escaped this appointment; there was plenty of time, lots of time, so much time that the 11 fell asleep three times as Jesus prayed for them, for us today, and for Himself. He prayed that if possible, and all things are possible with God, to take away this cup of sacrifice, this death by crucifixion. Luke tells us “being in agony He prayed earnestly and His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling to the ground.” Was there some other way He could save mankind from the wrath of God to come?He prays earnestly, honestly, willingly. “Nevertheless, not what I will, but what Thou wilt,” He prayed.Soon the stillness in the garden is broken, by voices, by flickering torch lights, by twigs cracking under feet. It is a mob of ruffians, soldiers, temple guards, door keepers and priests with big ambitions carrying brooms for weapons and spears. All the mob is armed in some manner. They are determined, by force, to capture the most peaceful, the most quiet, the most easily approachable person who was ever on earth by force.
The 11, awake now, peer through the trees and bushes seeing and hearing a familiar person with a smile on his face saying, “Hail, Master,” and kisses Jesus. The mob seizes Christ, rough Him up, ties His arms and hands to His side. One of the 11 draws a sword and cuts off one of the ears of one of the high priest’s servants. Jesus heals the ear and admonishes Peter and tells him the way to reconciliation with God, the way to being made right with God is the cross and not the sword.Jesus is led away as an animal might be dragged to the slaughter house.
The night continues as Jesus is questioned about His guilt and Peter denies knowing Jesus three times. Then sorrow overtakes Peter as the cock crows twice.
They take Jesus from Anna to Caiaphas to Pilate where the eyes of Jesus and Peter meet. As Jesus was led up the stairs to see Pilate, Peter’s eyes were blurry from all his crying, but still, he sees the face of Jesus looking at him, the lovely face, the terrible face of Jesus, Jesus’ eyes sad, tender, as if Jesus understands and forgives. Peter flees, heart pounding violently in his breast and Jesus walks to meet the Roman Governor.
What are the charges against Jesus? Annas and Caiaphas were in charge of the Temple, of all the bribers, of all the cheaters, all the over chargers of merchandise. When Jesus overturned the table and said they had turned the House of prayer into a Den of Thieves. Their way of life was being threatened by this one solitary man – Jesus.
Caiaphas had not been able to find anyone to refute the stories of the miracles of Jesus, the healings, the raising the dead, etc. Jesus following was growing—they thought anything might happen. “If we let Jesus be, everyone might believe on Him and the Romans will come and remove us and our nation.”
When Jesus admitted He was, indeed, the Christ, the Son of God, they charged Jesus with blaspheming Himself. This entitled Him to be put to death.
Pilate questions Jesus and realizes Jesus is no threat to Rome. When Pilate hears Jesus is from Galilee, he finds a loophole for himself. Galilee is Herod’s jurisdiction, so Pilate quickly sends Jesus to Herod, who happens to be in town. Herod wants Jesus to do tricks as example of miracles that he has heard about. Jesus was silent before Herod and Herod sends Him back to Pilate.
Most of you know the rest of the story…Pilate asked the crouw who should be released, the robber and murderer Barabbas or Jesus, and they reply release Barabbas and crucify, crucify, crucify Jesus they shout in a never ending chant.
Jesus is crucified, He dies, He is buried in a tomb closely guarded so that no one could come and steal the body.
To be continued—“The First Easter Morning.

A LOOK AT JUDAS:

A LOOK AT JUDAS:
After alluding to a traitor among them earlier in his ministry and tonight while washing the disciple’s feet and having explained the service of humbling love; Jesus indicates to whom it is that is the traitor. Jesus has known all along that there was a traitor, one who would betray Him among the group of disciples. Jesus has bore this secret burden in his heart for 3 years. The secret burden of a betrayer is no secret anymore. He had alluded to it to his disciples a year ago. We are told at the time of the super Judas had already conspired and made up his mind to do the deed. Jesus said the bad work had been decided and to go and do it without delay. Judas goes out into the dark. Jesus wanted to be rid of the false disciple’s company and desired to spend His last few hours with His faithful ones.
HOW DID JUDAS EVER GET TO BE A DISCIPLE?
HOW DID HE BECOME CHOSEN?
Did Jesus know Judas’s real character when he chose him?
Jesus said while washing their feet “I know whom I have chosen.” [This of course included Judas.]
Jesus announces who the traitor is, Mark 14:21, and he adds “For the Son of Man must die as the scriptures declared long ago must be fulfilled. Does this mean Judas was picked, chosen, like an actor in a play? The end that Jesus must die was served by Judas being chosen.
But, the end was not the motive of his being selected do I believe.
A.B. Bruce, Bible Teacher, has 2 ideas I think are certain: First, Judas did not become a follower with bad or evil or treacherous intentions. Second, Jesus did not elect Judas to be one of the 12 because Jesus foreknew that Judas would certainly become a traitor.
HOW CAN IT BE EXPLAINED?
Judas’s qualifications must have been, by normal eyes and minds to be a worthy selection. He was eligible under ordinary circumstances it seems and should be assumed. I think the church chooses people to fill sacred offices on the view that the person has the qualifications, and as a result some appointments do not work out happily. The selection dishonors the position given to them. BUT, Christ taught us the parable of the tares that we must submit to evil and leave the tares to God. God often brings good out of evil.
Judas probably knew the good but did not do it; James called this person a double-minded person. People like Judas are not rare, they love themselves more the any others and are always capable of wrong doings when activities with a set of certain circumstances present themselves.
THUS: WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDED JUDAS?
What motives to be the traitor, the betrayer, these are only guesses, of course:
He did receive a sum of money. He had stolen from the petty cash fund. He carried the bag of money for the poor and perhaps his heart longed for greed; on the other hand, perhaps the disciples did not wish to be bothered passing out the money to the poor, widows and orphans.
BUT, this does not seem to be the main reason either to betray Jesus for the amount Judas got was very small. He would have gotten a lot more if he continued caring the purse.
Another reason why he may have betrayed Jesus is Judas’s birth and culture. Judas was not a Galilean. His bonds to a common lord, a common hope, a common spiritual life are not as great as bonds, ties, to a sect, a nationality and/or opinions.
Perhaps: Judas’s offense came from the disputes the disciples had as who would be the greatest, or who would set on His right hand, or
who Jesus spent the most time with, the transfiguration etc. Judas was not a Galilean; therefore he may have thought he had no chance of being on Christ’s right or left hand, this could have caused bitterness with him and others. BUT,
WHY DID HE HATE JESUS? Did Judas think or sense Jesus had seen through him and knew of his guilty practices? Would that be enough to betray Christ? Likely, as we know, when others do not seem to treat us quite right, as though they know something about us, but don’t tell us; Judas may have felt like that. Or perhaps Jesus had confronted him and he could not take correction as Peter learned to do. If Jesus had done it publicly, as one Gospel suggest at Mary’s anointing, they knew he had taken money from the purse and this knowledge would have led to more shame and vindictiveness.
The fact is that Judas goes and does not just give information as to Jesus’ whereabouts in the Garden. Jesus’ arrest indicates malicious revengeful feelings and Judas even made sure who Jesus was by the way of a kiss. The kiss was not necessary, the military had torches to see well and Judas could have just hidden in the bushes and pointed out as to which one was Jesus.
ALSO: Perhaps self-preservation could have been a reason to be a traitor. Perhaps he believed and understood the situation better then the disciples did, that the end was near. The disciples were blind to the signs of the times as many today will be when Jesus’ future return is near. Perhaps he reasoned Christ’s lost might be his gain. This reason makes it within the range of human experience and makes the reason plausible more so then it does to see Judas as a mere actor in satanic wickedness. Perhaps it is better just to consider Judas act as an explainable mystery of wrong doing, of one whom satan has taken possession of and entered into Judas.
WHAT DOES JUDAS TAKING HIS OWN LIFE SAY TO US?
A.B. Bruce writes “Judas was bad enough to do the deed, but
good enough to be unable to bare the burden of its guilt.”
After alluding to a traitor among them earlier in his ministry and tonight while washing the disciple’s feet and having explained the service of humbling love; Jesus indicates to whom it is that is the traitor. Jesus has known all along that there was a traitor, one who would betray Him among the group of disciples. Jesus has bore this secret burden in his heart for 3 years. The secret burden of a betrayer is no secret anymore. He had alluded to it to his disciples a year ago. We are told at the time of the super Judas had already conspired and made up his mind to do the deed. Jesus said the bad work had been decided and to go and do it without delay. Judas goes out into the dark. Jesus wanted to be rid of the false disciple’s company and desired to spend His last few hours with His faithful ones.
HOW DID JUDAS EVER GET TO BE A DISCIPLE?
HOW DID HE BECOME CHOSEN?
Did Jesus know Judas’s real character when he chose him?
Jesus said while washing their feet “I know whom I have chosen.” [This of course included Judas.]
Jesus announces who the traitor is, Mark 14:21, and he adds “For the Son of Man must die as the scriptures declared long ago must be fulfilled. Does this mean Judas was picked, chosen, like an actor in a play? The end that Jesus must die was served by Judas being chosen.
But, the end was not the motive of his being selected do I believe.
A.B. Bruce, Bible Teacher, has 2 ideas I think are certain: First, Judas did not become a follower with bad or evil or treacherous intentions. Second, Jesus did not elect Judas to be one of the 12 because Jesus foreknew that Judas would certainly become a traitor.
HOW CAN IT BE EXPLAINED?
Judas’s qualifications must have been, by normal eyes and minds to be a worthy selection. He was eligible under ordinary circumstances it seems and should be assumed. I think the church chooses people to fill sacred offices on the view that the person has the qualifications, and as a result some appointments do not work out happily. The selection dishonors the position given to them. BUT, Christ taught us the parable of the tares that we must submit to evil and leave the tares to God. God often brings good out of evil.
Judas probably knew the good but did not do it; James called this person a double-minded person. People like Judas are not rare, they love themselves more the any others and are always capable of wrong doings when activities with a set of certain circumstances present themselves.
THUS: WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDED JUDAS?
What motives to be the traitor, the betrayer, these are only guesses, of course:
He did receive a sum of money. He had stolen from the petty cash fund. He carried the bag of money for the poor and perhaps his heart longed for greed; on the other hand, perhaps the disciples did not wish to be bothered passing out the money to the poor, widows and orphans.
BUT, this does not seem to be the main reason either to betray Jesus for the amount Judas got was very small. He would have gotten a lot more if he continued caring the purse.
Another reason why he may have betrayed Jesus is Judas’s birth and culture. Judas was not a Galilean. His bonds to a common lord, a common hope, a common spiritual life are not as great as bonds, ties, to a sect, a nationality and/or opinions.
Perhaps: Judas’s offense came from the disputes the disciples had as who would be the greatest, or who would set on His right hand, or
who Jesus spent the most time with, the transfiguration etc. Judas was not a Galilean; therefore he may have thought he had no chance of being on Christ’s right or left hand, this could have caused bitterness with him and others. BUT,
WHY DID HE HATE JESUS? Did Judas think or sense Jesus had seen through him and knew of his guilty practices? Would that be enough to betray Christ? Likely, as we know, when others do not seem to treat us quite right, as though they know something about us, but don’t tell us; Judas may have felt like that. Or perhaps Jesus had confronted him and he could not take correction as Peter learned to do. If Jesus had done it publicly, as one Gospel suggest at Mary’s anointing, they knew he had taken money from the purse and this knowledge would have led to more shame and vindictiveness.
The fact is that Judas goes and does not just give information as to Jesus’ whereabouts in the Garden. Jesus’ arrest indicates malicious revengeful feelings and Judas even made sure who Jesus was by the way of a kiss. The kiss was not necessary, the military had torches to see well and Judas could have just hidden in the bushes and pointed out as to which one was Jesus.
ALSO: Perhaps self-preservation could have been a reason to be a traitor. Perhaps he believed and understood the situation better then the disciples did, that the end was near. The disciples were blind to the signs of the times as many today will be when Jesus’ future return is near. Perhaps he reasoned Christ’s lost might be his gain. This reason makes it within the range of human experience and makes the reason plausible more so then it does to see Judas as a mere actor in satanic wickedness. Perhaps it is better just to consider Judas act as an unexplainable mystery of wrong doing, of one whom satan has taken possession of and entered into Judas.
WHAT DOES JUDAS TAKING HIS OWN LIFE SAY TO US?
A.B. Bruce writes “Judas was bad enough to do the deed, but
good enough to be unable to bare the burden of its guilt.”

JESUS TEACHES ON THE LORD”s SUPPER

JESUS TEACHES ON THE LORD”s SUPPER
Mark 14: 22-25; Luke 22 17-20;
We are told when participate in the communion meal; we are to do so in the remembrance of Christ. He has never told us to celebrate His birth or His miracles, etc. We are told to commemorate His death and resurrection with this act of communion. We are told to remember what Mary did in anointing Jesus at Bethany to remember her Deed of Love.
Jesus is saying to them and to us, my coming death is not to be regarded as a disaster or a tragedy. My death is not contrary to my divine purpose or my expectations. It is not a fatal blow by ungodly men on me or you or our cause. It is not an evil thing. My death is fulfilling the purpose of my mission and it is a fruitful blessing to the world. What men mean for evil God means for good.
It is a crime by some, but it is a voluntary of mine. My death initiates a new era and seals a new covenant. It fulfills the purpose and takes the place of the many sacrifices under the Mosaics’ laws and rituals. I, Jesus will become the Paschal Lamb of the people of God, giving them eternal life, the Paschal Lamb is not only sacrificed but also eaten and this bread which we eat at communion represents taking Christ unto ourselves. These truth are familiar to us today, but was not to them back then.
Jesus’ birth was a marvelous, momentous miracle, but His exit out of life by crucifixion is much more so.

PURE LOVE Mary’s Anointing

PURE LOVE:
Some Interesting Things About Mary’s Anointing;
John 12: 10 they are not only planning to kill Jesus, but now they decide to kill Lazarus also.
It was (v. 11) because of raising Lazarus from the dead many believed in Jesus
The bottle of perfume was worth a year wages! It is Judas, the future betrayer of Christ, who points this out, and all the disciples and others said “what a waste” and were indignant [Matthew 26:8; Mark 14:4] at her anointing.]
Judas says money could have been give to the poor.
Interesting also what is said about Judas. He is a thief, stole from the money collected to help the poor, widows, orphans, etc.
Jesus’ answer – they always will have the poor, but will not always have me.
Jesus said this (Matthew 26:13/Mark 14:9), “What Mary did will be remembered and discussed whenever the Good News is spoken of.” Jesus said what Mary did (Matthew 26:10); Mark 14:6) was a “good thing to me.” (John 12:7)”so leave her alone. She did this in preparation for my burial.”
Why? What is it Mary did that was so noble that it will be remembered and associated with the Gospel throughout all time? – Right up to and including 2018 nearly 2000 years later.
How does this anointing compare with the Good News of the Cross, of the Gospel? How are they similar?
BOTH WERE DONE OUT OF PURE LOVE.
Both are a total self-sacrificing act, both the anointing and the cross are acts of pure love. What is meant by that? Jesus did not die only for certain number of people or for just so many. He died to all, for all. He died, gave up His life not just for believers, but for all people. Jesus endured humiliation, temptation, sorrow, suffering, even becoming the wrath intended for us because of our sins. He sacrificed His life for ours. While on earth He denied Himself of all the advantages of Divine Power and Privilege. Somehow, even in our simple life to love, we can see evidence that pure true love’s joyful fulfillment is love’s delight to endure hardships; to bear burdens for what is loved. Pure love is not satisfied till it has found a way to involve it’s self in service that involves cost, labor, and pain. Selfishness runs from these sacrifices, but love seems to long for them. He gave His all at the cross for us. The same with Mary – she anointed using the entire bottle to anoint Jesus. Jesus says we will remember and discuss what Mary did.
So what are some of Mary’s characteristics? She had an enthusiastic attraction to Christ. Jesus said this should be imitated by all believers. We can say then, devotion is a chief Christian Virtue similar to the woman
who gave 2 mites – Jesus said she did what she could! Mary was creative, by her action she did what her heart told her to do – it was not the time to give alms, but it was the time to anoint. She did what she could. Jesus said (Mark 14:8) she gave what she could.
Pure love does not fear consequences. Later we will see all 12 disciples deserted Jesus. Love makes one bold, as it did Mark and later for Peter and John after the resurrection of Jesus, when they stood boldly before the Sanhedrin in Acts 4.
Jesus called Mary’s act a noble work. From Mary we learn that being found fault with, as she was, is not evidence of being wrong. As a result, we should be prudent in judging the unusual acts of others. On the other hand, we should be very careful not to be like Judas and betray TRUTH.
The major complaint, it seems, as to what Mary did was to use ALL the perfume, All the ointment, and All of the bottle. The criticizers were more interested in the quantity. Pure loves uses All towards the objects it loves. NOT using All, says it could be saved for other purposes – a small amount may have just as well been enough. By using all it symbolizes the same characteristics of Christ’s Good Works as the Savior. Christ did not measure out His blood in proportion to the number being saved or a certain type of people; Jesus shed His blood without measure for all.
This account of Jesus’ anointing seems to declare love is the test and measurement of Christian excellence. Mary did not know Jesus was about to die, but she acts like it. The instincts of love, the inspiration from God or of God, teaches one to do the right thing at the right time–this is wisdom. On the other hand, the cold hardness of the disciples’ hearts filled with human knowledge makes them stupid and they run away and deny Jesus. They (the disciples) had received much more information than Mary concerning the future. If they did not know Jesus was about to die, they should have. They, like so many are so taken up by their own affairs they forget things about others!!!

An Imagery 2nd Letter from Jude nearly 2000 Years Later:

An Imagery 2nd Letter from Jude nearly 2000 Years Later:
Dear Friends, and to all true believers in Christ Jesus, the anointed one, our redeemer, who by His grace has redeemed us, has provided for us eternal life in heaven through faith in His life as fully God and fully man, the complete and exact image of the one and only creator God who loved us in the past, loves us now, and will love us in the future just as your beloved teacher and fellow follower of our faith eloquently preached in a heartfelt message on May 5, 2018. Mr. Jim T. explained that no one, nothing can stop God from loving. Yes, God is indeed love, but not all love is God!
I wanted to write you a letter about our shared salvation which we have in Jesus the Christ and the hope we share in many things, in particular the hope we have of seeing our loved ones who have died when Jesus comes again. That day is nearer than when I first wrote to you. However, there has recently been a crisis in your beloved Methodist churches in America and in particular in Illinois and Indiana where you, my beloved brothers and sisters, worship and glorify our great and awesome God.
The main reason I wrote to you in 67 A.D. was to warn of false teachers coming into the church. I’m writing you today to tell you there are many already here and have become bolder and are insisting everyone agree with their false ways of doing. Their beliefs have intensified especially the past few years with the things they do being “worser and worser.”
Many of our fellow Christian believers are succumbing to what sounds like love, but is not the love that Jesus, or Paul, or Peter, or Little John and all the other God inspired writers wrote about. False believers are saying and teaching things which are not true love; what they proclaim sounds true, but it is not. Sadly these false teachers think what they are doing is good and compassionate, but they are things God does not like. These false leaders are somewhat different today than in my first letter to you. They believed in the teaching of Gnosticism which has been explained to you clearly by your scriptural coach and Sunday School teacher Mr. Jim T. This belief was popular in that first century when I wrote my first letter to you.
Today many do not know or ever heard of Gnosticism, but they are doing and believing what it teaches. False teachers today are doing the same thing by abusing the free grace that God gave us to do good, by doing bad stuff. This false doctrine has multiplied greatly in your Methodist churches. Many of your members are sincere, honest, moral people who are allowing themselves to be duped by what sounds good in the name of love and tolerance towards others by not witnessing to the true gospel they knew, but now have forgotten
A perfect example of failing to witness to the true gospel was on May 6, 2018 in your Bible study Sunday group when Mr. Jerry R. failed to support the true gospel. He kept silent to the truth that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life and there is no other way but through Christ to the Kingdom of God when good works were being considered to be included as a way to heaven. Please pray for Mr. Jerry for he is remorseful. He knows he failed to witness to the true fact he believes, thus giving strength to false teaching.
Leaders, teachers, pastors, bishops are abusing, in great numbers, the free grace of God as a license to allow and/or enjoy sexual activities that God clearly stated through His word, especially in the New Testament book of Romans, what these wrongdoings are—sins are what they are. False teachers proclaim what they are supporting as good, but they are not.
Yes, it is true what brother Mr. Jim T, quoted from written 2600 years ago, that the world was a mess similar in some ways as it is today. Hundreds and hundreds of years after creation the world became evil; so evil that God destroyed a whole bunch of people and animals. We can see from cave drawings of those years all kinds of sexual sins and perversions, even with beasts, were prevalent. Today we can see these same events happening now on computer screens.
I wrote you in my first letter long ago what God had in store for those people who dishonored God, and that those who do these wrong doings today can expect no less than what happened to those I reminded you in my first letter in verses 6- 16. If you do not remember, look it up.
False teachers are actually fulfilling Scripture before your eyes in many ways besides sexual sins. For example, I Timothy 4:1-3 says that in the end times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of devils (v. 2), speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own consciences seared as with a hot iron (v. 3) forbidding to marry (in other words saying sex outside of marriage and with whomever they desire, male or female is ok and good). Some are commanding laws to abstain from certain food such as meat, which God (v. 3) says is OK.
These false leaders act as though what they believe in their spirit has no connection to what they do with their bodies. You may remember, if not you can look up what Paul, a bond servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, said in chapter one in his letter to all who are called saints. Romans 1 explains what is happening in the United Methodist churches in 2018. In verse 21 Paul writes some who knew God, but did not glorify (worship) or give thanks to God, became futile (empty, vain, foolish, useless and confused) and began to have foolish thoughts of what God is and as a result their hearts were hardened.
Paul continues, “they changed in their life the glory of the awesome God who saved them to the glory of honoring themselves and other humans, relying more and more on their own thoughts and ideas of right and wrong rather than what God says.” ( v. 24). Therefore we see what has come to fruition in the lives of many. God allowed them to seek after the lusts of their hearts and as a result they dishonored their bodies with one another and did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. Thus they have traded the truth of God for a lie and have begun and continue worse to enjoy things God created, instead of God. Trusting more and more in things as human, they slowly moved from not believing Jesus was both human completely and God completely to believing God was only for the poor and the ignorant, believing that humans can solve all problems.
The truth is these people, Jesus said, are no longer God’s children receiving all His promises of peace, heaven, etc, but are now the children, because of their trust in themselves, of Satan. But still they who do these sexual previsions call themselves children of God.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, I remind you to look at what Paul said it would be like when human intelligence is trusted more than God. That time is here in abundance and it is rapidly spreading. Romans 1:20, “Women have turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulge in sex with each other (v 27) and of course men continue more and more of not having normal God given sex to procreate and to have sex with women, instead they burn with lust for sex with other men and with boys. Paul writes as a result of this sin, they suffer within themselves the penalty they deserve. I am sorry friends, but at this time I do not know what all that suffering they deserve implies.
Friends, you may recall how I described these false teachers in my first letter to you all and the condemnation of what happened to those long ago who refused to honor and obey God. In my first letter, I called them grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts and they bragged, at the same time they flatter others to gain their own advantages. Look around, you will see rude, conceited people who brag about what they do is right and good. They proclaim those who disagree are ignorant and unloving and they are presently insisting on laws to approve of their way of living. False teachers, leaders, pastors and bishops are attempting in 2018 to change the doctrine and constitution of the Methodist church and have already succeeded in some of the churches of your Christian friends. These unbelievers are asking to become teachers, preachers and leaders to our children, teaching them godless ways, and they do this in a loud, demanding manner, insisting others should honor the rights they feel they deserve. By so doing they are calling evil good and good evil, which has been prophesied, would occur in the latter days. Their false love is about to create hell on earth to those who disagree. There is no shame in what they openly do; that which they once kept secret. (v. 13)
The problem today, friends, is that some of us, by not doing anything to prevent this, are actually (Romans 1:32) applauding and encouraging those who would do those godless things they promote.
These false teachers say many loving sounding things and preach tolerance of and to everyone; they appear to have love and compassion and are fooling many who are not rooted and abiding in the truth, Little John wrote about. But, rightly so, Romans 2:2-5 says only God can really judge them. It is not our job to do so (v. 5).
(v. 7) On that day we all long for, God will reward or punish every person for what that person has done. The people that continue to do right and live for God’s glory and live for the heavenly life that has no end – God will give them eternal life. This is the gospel truth preached from the beginning of time.
In verse 4 long ago I, Jude, wrote to you that God showed His condemnation of ungodly people who pervert the free grace of God into lewdness, unashamed, indecent, unbridled lust and unrestrained immorality. I once again remind you of something you once fully knew from people who knew that Jesus, who saved people out of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe and so on through verse 16. If you have forgotten my message then look it up. It is the same as I wrote you nearly 2000 years ago.
I close my 2nd letter to you on May 6, 2018. Friends, believers in Christ Jesus, followers of His way, and in particular members of the United Methodist Church across your own country and especially my fellow workers in Christ in the states of Illinois and Indiana. Your board of Bishops are working on plans to implement into your church beliefs, teachings, and methods that I believe will harm the transformation of the world in making disciples of Christ and defeat john Wesley’s encouragement to do good and to do no harm.
Contrary to the Scriptures we hold dearly, many of the LGBTQ in the church are seeking the rights of homosexual, lesbians, and transgender to have the right to preach, teach, or lead this perverted gospel of theirs which we clearly laid out is a bad, ungodly belief, a bad doctrine that if adopted will lead the way out of the promise of heaven into the depth of God’s punishment and His Wrath.
These people hold beliefs that sound good, but are not. Believing that all people are children of God, which 2nd John’s letter, Paul’s letters, and Jude feels and Jesus Himself states that not all have God as their father, some have Satan as their father. They believe and tell us love is God and God is love and therefore He will not punish anyone and will definitely not assign anyone to hell if there is a hell, which many of them believe there is not.
False teachers and leaders believe in trusting themselves as to what is right and to do whatever feels good they do. They believe there are no absolute truths, let alone believing in a man who taught 2000 years ago. They tell us this is a different age, a different time. They tell us there are many ways to heaven, and sadly some of them believe that there is no heaven or hell. They tell us that if there is a heaven the way to get there is doing good that others can see.
These false teachers, ministers, leaders and bishops are compiling a plan called “The Way Forward”. This group tells us Christians who are opposed are narrow minded, selfish and hypocritical
Some hate us because we say Jesus or Bible, or speak of salvation, or repentance, or sins. They plan to have this new sexual teaching adopted by the UMC in 2019 – less than a year away.
As I wrote to you earlier in verses 20-21 of my first letter, I encourage you to build up, to pray to wait for Jesus’ return, the one who gives eternal life, for in this way you keep yourself safe in God’s love. 1st John 3:3 adds all who have this eager hope and expectation purify their heart. Be sure not to neglect the gathering together for He is able to keep us from falling.
I encourage you to take to heart in 1st Timothy 6:12 “Fight the good fight for the true faith. Take hold of eternal life to which God has called you, which you confessed before many witnesses.
In closing, I repeat to you. Do not slander or criticize and do have mercy on those who doubt the truth. Merciful people do not only help with physical needs, but also share the spiritual food that they have.
We must be aware of those:
Who deny Christ was both fully God and fully human,
Who believe they have a license to do whatever they feel like, with an it if feels good,do it attitude,
Who are selfish, proud, disparaging and bitter in demanding their own way,
Who are divisive and fault finding of gospel truths,
Who believe all sexual activities are God approved for them to do what they desire.
As Diotrephes took the warning of beware of false teachers too far, false teachers today are taking to love one another too far.
May you always stand up for Jesus.

JESUS IS COMING AGAIN

JESUS IS COMING AGAIN — IT IS A SURE THING

The very first verse in the Bible says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” About halfway through the Bible (Isaiah 65:17) God says, “For behold I will create new heavens and a new earth,” and at the end of the Bible (Revelation 21:2) says “then I saw a new heaven and a new earth coming down from God out of heaven and I heard a loud voice from the throne saying (verse 4) “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes and there will be no more death, sadness, crying or pain, because all the old ways are gone.
Yes, God has a wonderful future in store for those who believe in their heart and confess with their mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord.
There is much that could be said about the second coming of Jesus Christ. So many avenues, so many exciting prophecies — some scary, some full of hope. There are hours and hours of interesting talk on just some of the most known topics like the Rapture, the anti-christ, a false prophet, a 1000 year reign, a ten-nation alliance and of course the mysterious 666. So many ideas, so many theories, so much speculation, so much guessing about Jesus’ return to earth. BUT
Today I want to talk just a little on what Jesus said about His return to earth–Just the fact, nothing but the facts. Nothing complicated, no prophecy to interpret, no guessing; I want to look at what Jesus told us. In

2 PETER 3: “Dear friends, I want you to remember the command by our Lord and Savior. First of all you must understand that in the last days scoffers [doubters] will come following their own evil desires. They will say where is this coming he promised?’ Everything goes on just as it has since the beginning of creation.”

-1-

Jesus lived is a historical fact. Jesus is not a myth, not a legend, nor a fantasy. He lived a little over 2000 years ago. This is true. Look it up. Jesus is part of world history. However, what is not widely known is Jesus is coming back a 2nd time. It is a sure thing. Perhaps the first thing a Christian should do is realize it is true that Jesus is coming back and it is going to occur – it is going to happen. Over 2000 years before Christ’s birth there were prophecies recorded telling of his Virgin Birth and being the Messiah – more than 250 Old Testament prophecies foretold God coming to earth as the anointed one, Jesus the Christ, and 100% of them were fulfilled exactly as foretold by the prophets.
I have heard some people say that the New Testament has little to say about Jesus coming again. But this is not true. The facts are there are over 200 references to His coming back in the New Testament. About one out of 15 verses mention it. Jesus, Himself, declares it many times. For example…
(John 14:2, 3) – Jesus said “There are many rooms in my Father’s house; I would not tell you this if it were not true. After I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you with me so that you will be where I am.
[Matthew 16:27] Jesus said,… the son of man will come with His angels……..and 1st Thessalonians 4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together……and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

WHEN WILL CHRIST RETURN?
[Matthew 24:44] Jesus said “You must be ready, the Son of Man will come at a time you do not expect Him.
Let us look at what Jesus told the disciples when they asked Jesus in the 3rd verse of chapter 24 of the gospel of Matthew. “what signs will signal your return and the end of the world? Jesus tells them in the next 97 verses of chapter 24 and 25. Lets look at a couple of them now. [Matthew 24:6-18; 25] Jesus says, “You will hear about wars, and stories of wars that are coming, but don’t be afraid. These things must happen before the end comes. Nations will fight against other nations; kingdoms will fight against other kingdoms. There will be times when there is no food for people to eat, and there will be earthquakes in different places. These things are like the first pains when something new is about to be born. They, the world, will hate you because you believe in me. At that time, those who believe and proclaim the name of Jesus will be–arrested persecuted, killed, many will lose their faith, and people will turn against each other and hate each other. Christians will be hated all over the world because you are followers of me. Because of these persecutions many followers of Jesus will turn away from Him. There will be more and more evil in the world, so most people will stop showing their love for each other. Many will call evil good and good evil. But those people who keep their faith until the end will be saved. The Good News about God’s kingdom will be preached in all the world, to every nation. [get the # killed for confessing Christ recently]
There will be more anguish then any time since the world began. Many false prophets will come and cause many people to believe lies. We will talk about this later. Jesus said Immediately after the anguish of those days the sun will be darkened and the moon will give no light……the powers of heaven will be shaken. Jesus continues When we see all these signs happening in the same generation, that generation will not parish and the end will come.
Jesus said,“Now I have warned you about this before it happens. SO

WHEN WILL CHRIST RETURN?
Matthew 24:37-39 tells us “it will be like the days of Noah 38″In those days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving their children in marriage until the day Noah entered the boat. 39They knew nothing about what was happening until the flood came and destroyed them. It will be the same when Jesus comes.” The days of Noah was a time of much evil and much immoral activity and a time of horrific sexuality even human with animals—a very evil time. All were selfish, caring only for themselves. A time if it felt good, they did it. The time of Noah can be seen on the cave drawings of that period. America’s evilness today can be seen on computer screens. People doing whatever they want. Is that time like the time of Noah here today? People doing whatever they want whatever feels good. If Christians do not begin talking about Jesus’s return, many of our love ones will not know what is happening and Christ will come and some of our loved ones will be left behind.
(Mark 13:32-37) – Jesus says, 32″No one knows when that day or time will be…only God knows…33″be careful always be ready, because you do not know when that time will be”. 35So always be ready, It might be evening, or at midnight or in the morning when still dark, or when the sun rises. 36Always be ready. Otherwise He might come back and find you sleeping. I tell you this and I say this to ever one, Be Ready.
WHY IS HE COMING BACK
[I THESS. 4:13-18, 5:4] — To raise the dead!
Verse 13 reads, 13 “Believers, we want you to know about those Christians who have died so you will not be sad, as others who have no hope. 14We believe Jesus died and that He arose again. So, because of Him God will raise with Jesus those who have died. 15What we tell you now is the Lord’s own message. We who are living when the Lord comes again will not go before those who have already died. 16The Lord Himself will come down from heaven with a loud command, with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet call of God. And those who have died believing in Christ will rise first. 17After that we who are still alive will be gathered up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and we will be with the Lord forever. 18So encourage each other with these words.”
Why is He coming back?
FOR US TO RECEIVE NEW BODIES
I Corinthians 15:35-58 tells what kind of bodies. They will not be flesh and blood – but spiritual; 51it will happen as fast as the blink of an eye; 54and the spiritual bodies will be clothed with something that can never die; Always give yourself fully to the work of the Lord knowing that your work in Him is not in vain.” (He is coming back!)
He is coming back TO DESTROY DEATH
Revelation 21:4 — “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death, sadness, crying, or pain because all the old ways are gone.” He is coming back….
TO GATHER THE REDEEMED
Matthew 24;31 — “He will use a loud trumpet to send H His is angels all around the earth, and they will gather i His chosen people from every part of the world.”
Another reason why He is coming back is to
TO JUDGE THE WORLD
Matthew 25:32-46 –All the nations of the world will be gathered before Him and He will separate them into (2) groups. These verses go on to tell about the result of the (2) groups, what happens to each and to why. “46Those who refuse to do good for Christ. Those who reject Him will go off to be punished forever, but the righteous will go to live forever in heaven.”
John 12:48 — Jesus says there is a judgment for those who refuse to believe in me and do not accept my words. The word I have taught will be their judge on the last day. And He is coming back to fulfill
John 3:16 — “For God so loved the world……that who..
(We need to pray and ponder these verses from…..)
II TIMOTHY 3:1-7 — “1:Remember this! In the last days there will be many troubles 2because people will love themselves, love money, brag and be proud. They will say evil things against each other and will not obey their parents or be thankful or be the kind of people God wants. 3They will not love others, will refuse to forgive, they will gossip, and will not control themselves. They will be cruel, will hate what is good, 4will turn against their friends, and will do foolish things without thinking. They will be conceited, will love pleasure instead of God, 5and will act as if they serve God but will not have His power. Stay away from those people. [2nd Timothy 4:3-4 “For a time is coming when people will not listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them what ever their itching ears want to hear. They will hate the truth and chase after myths.
WHAT SHOULD BE OUR ATTITUDE TOWARDS CHRIST’S RETURN?
We are told to:
WAIT FOR IT.
Philippians 3:20-21 reminds us 20″Our homeland is in heaven, and we are waiting for Jesus, to come from heaven. 21By His power to rule all things, he will change our simple bodies and make them like his glorious body.”
I Corinthians 1:7 — “You have every gift from God while you wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to come again.”
Luke 21:34-36 tells us while we are waiting for Christ’s return,we are to keep from believing lies of false teachers — for example, Everyone will be saved in the end, there is no hell, a good God will not punish people, Jesus was only a man, these are false [fake news] While we wait we are to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Savior Jesus Christ.
James 5:7-8 ….”be patience as you wait for the lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rain in the fall and in the spring for the valuable harvest to ripen. You too must be patience.” [we are to]
LOOK FOR IT
Titus 2:12-13 says — “12We should live in a wise and right way in a way that shows we serve God. 13We should live like that while we wait for our great hope and the coming of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” we are to
WATCH FOR IT
Matthew 25:13 – “Jesus said ‘So you too must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return.'”
PRAY FOR IT
Revelation 22:20 – “Jesus, the one who says these things are true says, ‘Yes I am coming soon.'”
LOVE IT
II Timothy 4:2 – We are to love it–“Preach the Good News, be ready at all times and tell people what they need to do.”
Matthew 25:1-13 Is the story of Jesus telling us to be ready, to keep our lamps burning so when He comes , we can go immediately with Him with lamps burning ready to meet Him at His return. So watch with love for His return.
We are to
BE READY FOR IT
Matthew 24:42-44 tells us to be ready for it—
Verse 42″So always be ready, because you don’t know the day your Lord will come.” Jesus says, “44So you must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at a time you don’t expect Him. “Jesus talked much about looking and watching for His coming again and to be ready for it. In the Scripture reading Jesus in verse 35 says “be dressed for service and keep your lamps burning as though you were waiting for your master to return from the wedding feast. 38He may come in the middle of the night or just before dawn. But whenever he comes, he will reward the servants who are ready.” This is a wonderful promise from God to those whom Christ finds watching (watching simply means wisely using our gifts, talents and abilities for Him.]
1 Peter 1:13 says to prepare your minds for service and have self control. Many verses tell us Jesus will return when He is not expected. In Revelation 10:15 Jesus says “Behold I am coming as a thief. Blessed is the one who watches and keeps busy.” In verse 40 of Chapter 12 of Luke , Jesus says “therefore you also be ready. Who does He mean by “you also be ready.” Who does He mean by YOU? Jesus means even you who are baptized, even you who are a church member, even you who trust and live by the 10 commandments, even you who strive to live for Christ on a daily basis. Even you who love your neighbor as yourself, even you who have enough oil in your lamp, even you who love God with all your heart, body and soul, even you who are secure in your salvation–Jesus says to all, to everyone
Be Ready. Be Ready. Keep busy, for the Son of Man, Christ, is coming at an hour you do not expect. These words of being ready, waiting, watching, keeping busy, most Bible teachers would say are in preparation for Christ’s return as King of Kings and Lord of Lords and receiving Eternal Life. I think so too, but also, I think they apply and are preparation for those who want to be a Christian now, but are not yet sure they are, because they know of God, but as yet do not know him. Scripture says no one can come to Christ unless the Holy Spirit draws them.
So when you hear God’s Spirit voice calling to you, urging you, seeking you, when you hear, for example, “For God so loved the world………..shall have Eternal Life” or when you hear Christ say “Come unto me all who are heavy laden and weary and tired and I will give you rest” or when you hear ‘Now is the accepted time, now is the time to draw near to God” This is God’s Spirit voice calling to you. So DO IT, BELIEVE ON HIM, TRUST HIM for He loves you with a love that is constant and everlasting.
Do not be like people who believe life is like a baseball game with no time limit. Life is more like a basketball game. [that has a time limit]
The church age, the age we live in now, the age of God’s grace is love and it is ticking to an end; and there is an end to life and this world as we know it now.
The devil knows his time to destroy all that God stands for is ticking down. As the time of Christ ticks down to judgment day, Satan will increase his lies, his encouraging of false teaching, his increasing temptations to do evil, and to disrupt God’s plan for all to be saved and receive eternal life in heaven. Satan’s activities, His effort of discord, of strife, of immorality, of diseases will increase in a panic mode for he knows, the devil knows, when Christ returns, his time, the devil’s time has run out. Game over.
Jesus warns us in Revelation 3:3 to not forget what you have received and heard. OBEY IT, and change your hearts and lives.
Decide today if you believe or not. Today believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Savior and know the joy, the peace of knowing that when Jesus comes again your lamps, your heart, your mind, your entire body will be ready. [do you really want your mother to come down from heaven with Jesus when He comes again and find you not ready?]
Remember Scripture says in the last days people will say “where is Jesus?” If He was coming He would already be here. But we are assured as many begin to say and believe this it is a sign of the latter days are drawing closer. Jesus warns do not think He is late in coming or He is not coming at all and you think you can slack off from loving God with all your heart, body, soul and mind. [………………] It is a willing, wanting, waiting heart that God desires–an honest relationship more than any rituals. This is how we watch for His coming. Whether you’re watching for His 2nd coming by keeping busy and being ready or you are watching for Him to reveal Himself to you for the 1st time. Be ready. Don’t miss out either time!The Bible SAYS KEEP BUSY, JESUS IS COMING AGAIN BE READY!
(Go to skit) Jerry – you need a big sign that says
1. KEEP BUSY
2. JESUS IS COMING
3. BE READY
(near the end of talk, prearrange with someone to get up and begin pretending to hammer or use a screwdriver, etc.)

Me What are you doing?
Actor I am keeping busy (hold sign up) “Keep busy”

Me Why?
Actor (Flip up sign and say JESUS IS COMING

Me Do you think Jesus wants you to just be doing stuff?

Actor (energetically) Well, when you read be ready,
be prepared, be prepared, keep busy in the Scripture just now, I want to have everything perfect when Jesus comes and not be caught sleeping or not b being ready I want to keep busy. (hold up sign)

Me So you think looking busy will satisfy Jesus when He comes?

Actor Yes, Sir!! (say in a strong voice)

Me Does it make any difference what kind of busy you are doing?

Actor No, uh, uh, uh, well yes, I suppose it does.

Me What kind of busy would be good busy?

Actor (slowly thinking) Well, I suppose God stuff

Me What are examples of that–God stuff

Actor Well, uh, uh. Going to church, (pause) going
to Bible studies…,uh, uh… singing in the choir, ushering, helping my neighbors, being on committees – (say quickly) churches love committees.

Me Can you think of any time you looked busy doing God stuff and perhaps you were not?

Actor Well!!! Wednesday one time i was in a Bible study. Everyone was taking notes. Some had little computers, some paper and pen, but all were taking notes. I was busy with mine, but I was actually texting and it just looked like I was busy taking notes. But I was busy. (hold up sign KEEP BUSY)

Me I think you have “KEEP busy” a little mixed up with what Jesus says about being ready, watching and being prepared.

It has to be just not looking busy. It has to do with what God has called a person to do. God has a special call to everyone and Jesus wants us to hear, listen and be prepared when he comes.

The Scripture which talks about the 10 people who had lamps and 5 did not prepare and supply their lamp with enough oil – or in other words they had not been busy doing good things and therefore when the bridegroom (Jesus) came to get them to go into the wedding (Eternal Life) they were left out–they were left behind.
We are to keep busy with the things of God so that we do not slide into doing things, or falling into temptations which lead us to not being prepared, not waiting, not watching, not wanting, not willing and not ready to go with Jesus when He comes!

BE READY
JESUS IS COMING AGAIN
IT IS A SURE THING!

Jesus Calling

REFLECTION ON SONG OF SOLOMON 2:8-14
I hear the voice of my Lord. He comes to me, removing mountains and flattening hills. He comes to me as a stag at the Big Dance–that I love Him as He loves me.
He stands outside, alone, at the wall of my heart’s window,
gazing and longing for me to come to Him.
He says, “Rise up, I love and wonderfully made you. Your winter time, your sorrow and darkness and your rain that brought you distress and sadness is over and gone. The bloom of your life is now flowered; the time to sing is now.” The Word, the voice of the Savior, Christ Jesus, is heard through out the land with His softness,mercy and cooing, He is calling to you.
The fig tree and the grapevines are giving a good smell to the land. So rise up my love and come to me, your Savior. The one who knows you and calls you by your name. He says My love is constant and my mercy and loves goes on forever.