Archive for the ‘Forgiveness’ Category
She Couldn’t Stop Crying!
Mary held her scarf in place as she tearfully ran to her brother’s house. She couldn’t stop crying. All of her dreams had just crumbled into a horrible nightmare. This was the worst day of her life.
She had been a woman scorned by polite society all of her life. Most of the married women who knew her, worried about her influence on their husbands.
But for the last several years now, she had been a changed woman; transformed and forgiven by the one who is called Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God.
But now her Lord was dead. The only One who had ever given her hope had just been killed.
She ran almost blindly, down the darkening narrow street, nearly bumping into strangers. Her eyes focused on her brother’s house. Her pace quickened. Neighbors looked at Mary and then at each other in wonder, not knowing whether to be concerned for Mary or alarmed about something else. why was she running?
She didn’t bother knocking when she got to the door. Mary only slowed her pace slightly as she shoved the door open.
“They’ve killed Him!” She said breathlessly to the startled faces in the room.
“Killed him? Killed who?” Mary’s brother, Nathan asked as he sprang to his feet.
“Jesus. They’ve just crucified Jesus! The soldiers did it. I was there and I saw everything!”
Mary sank into a nearby chair and allowed the floodgate that held back her emotions to open up. Tears flowed afresh.
Nathan looked at his wife Elizabeth not knowing how to respond. They both were happy to see the changes in Mary’s life, but they were still unsure that her attachment to this Jesus person and His Disciples was a good thing for them.
“I thought your Jesus was going to overthrow the Romans and make himself king if he could get enough followers,” Nathan said trying to make a point.
“You should have seen him.” Mary said, ignoring her brother’s remark. “After they had beaten him till his back was bloody, and could hardly stand, they wove a thorn-bush into a crown and then they placed it on his head smashing it down hard. It made me sick.
“Those cruel heathen soldiers showed how heartless they were as they stripped his robe from him just to shame him publicly. I saw them as they gambled to see who got his clothes.”
Mary stopped to wipe her eyes again.
“Then they forced him to a cross they had on the ground and while they held him in place, the soldiers drove big nails into his hands and feet. Blood ran everywhere. But He never winced or changed his expression.
“I couldn’t take my eyes off of him as the soldiers lifted up the cross and let it drop down hard into the hole they had dug. It made a sickening thud, and his body shook hard. Then more blood started running down his hands, arms and back.
“Horrible people in the crowd starting cheering and saying mean things to him. Jesus looked at the soldiers and at the cheering crowd and said, ‘Father forgive them for they know not what they do.’
“Can you imagine that?”
Nathan and Elizabeth shook their heads no. They both then as if on cue, found a place to sit down as they listened to more of Mary’s story.
“What did the crowd say to that?” Elizabeth asked.
“They just kept on mocking and laughing at him. Some of his Disciples were standing close to his mother, Mary.
“Some of his disciples? They weren’t all there?” Nathan asked with a deep furrow in his brow.
“I looked very carefully, but I couldn’t find Judas or Peter anywhere. I was very surprised that Peter was missing. If he was there, I couldn’t see him.” Mary continued.
“There were three big groups there today. There were his followers that were weeping, there was a bigger crowd of those that hated him and just mocked him. Then there were those that just stood on the sidelines and watched. They showed no emotion either way. It was as if they came for the entertainment. They just didn’t care.
“What happened next?” Nathan asked.
“He said he was thirsty, and a soldier tried to give him some vinegar to drink. He also said something like, ‘My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?’
“Then he said to John that he wanted him to take care of their mother. He said some other things I can’t remember right now just before he closed his eyes. When he did close his eyes, it wasn’t long before his just head slumped over.
“The soldiers started breaking the legs on the others that were crucified, to make sure they were dead, but when they came to Jesus, they saw he was already dead so they stuck a spear in his side. Blood and water gushed down his body and dripped on the ground. Blood and water!
“I turned then and ran here as fast as I could. I couldn’t bear to see anymore.”
With that, Mary sprang to her feet and looked about the darkening room in alarm.
“It’s only the middle of the day and it’s dark outside already! ”Mary said as she ran to the window. “I can see that the chickens are getting up on the roost. What is happening?
Elizabeth screamed and reached for her husband as the ground began to shake violently. The dishes and furniture shook very hard. The floor moved hard up and down and the walls trembled.
Cries of alarm came from homes nearby. Cracks began to show in the walls of their houses while dried dirt fell from the ceilings. Then as it had begun, earthquake was quickly over.
“These are signs! Mary said as she faced her brother and sister-in-law. “These are signs from God! They have killed the Lord’s Anointed, the Messiah, and even nature is upset.”
The three stood close together unsure of what would happen next. They heard noises in the street and a man was talking very loud and very fast. Nathan went outside to see what the commotion was about. A few minutes later he came back inside. His face was ashen and his hands were shaking.
“What’s the matter?” Mary wanted to know.
“Rueben, the Levite said that he’d just come from the Temple and that the Veil protecting the Holiest of Holies ripped all by itself. It ripped right in the middle, from the top clear down to the bottom without anyone touching it!
“The High Priest, you know, is only allowed to go in to the Mercy Seat once a year, but now the Veil has been torn. Everyone can see in there.
“The High Priest and the Levites are all scared; they ran from the Temple not knowing what they should do. They were afraid of God’s judgment on them for seeing into the Holiest of Holies. There is nothing in the Law about how to correct this problem.
“Two more things. Reuben said that some big rocks that he has seen in the same place for years, now are all broken in half. and no one split them.
And number two, he said he saw some graves of the old saints were opened up and no one was in them.”
Nathan sat down while Elizabeth and Mary lighted a few lamps.
“Nathan, I know you haven’t been a follower of Jesus like I have. But you know the difference and the change that he made in my life. I’m not the same person anymore. You know that. You can see that. Everyone in town that knew me before can see that.
Mary started crying again remembering the moment she had knelt at the feet of Jesus in Simon’s house. She had held his feet and cried tears of repentance. She hadn’t any towel to wipe the tears away, so she had dried his feet with her hair. Then she had taken perfume, worth a whole years wages, and poured it on his feet.
“I am so ashamed of my past, but He forgave me and gave me hope.
Nathan and Elizabeth both nodded.
“If that is not enough, the sun went down just now and it got dark at noonday, there was a great earthquake shook everything. The Temple Veil tore in half by the Hand of God! From the top of the Veil… where man can’t even reach. You know those things are not a coincidence! This is a God thing.”
“I’m scared.” Elizabeth said, as she looked first at Nathan then at Mary. “Why don’t you stay here with us a couple of nights so we can talk? I want to know more about your Jesus.”
Mary thanked her and looked at her brother, he nodded his approval. The three talked about the days events for a while longer before going to bed.
Even after Mary had been in bed for a long time, her mind wouldn’t shut down. Then it came to her. She just could not let Jesus lay in some tomb without any ointment and spices. She knew no on had taken the time to wash the blood from his body either. That was the least she could do.
Tomorrow she would make plans and find where to get the necessary spices, ointments and perfumes she would need.
The next morning Mary announced to Elizabeth what she wanted to do and they went shopping for the special perfume and ointment ingredients.
The buzz everywhere was about the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth, the sun going down early, the earthquake and the torn Temple Veil.
Elizabeth wondered aloud to Mary if she thought the followers of Jesus would be safe now. They had killed Jesus. What would they do to his believers?
At home that night, the special ointments, oils and spices were mixed together. A special cloth had been purchased as well.
Early Sunday morning before daylight, Mary slipped out of the house and headed for the Tomb that she had heard he had been buried in. Her arms were full with the necessary items for an honorable burial. It was the least she could do.
But when Mary got to the tomb, she was in for the greatest shock of her life! She arrived at the tomb while it was still dark. Yet, she could see the protective stone had been rolled away. The tomb was empty!
Mary was overwhelmed with emotion, in shock she turned and started running, not quite sure where. In the darkness she ran and nearly bumped into Peter and John.
“The tomb is empty, they have taken him away,” she said breathlessly!
The men ran to the tomb. They had to see for themselves. When they saw it was empty, hope died in their souls and they turned and slowly went home.
But Mary just stood there. She could leave. She couldn’t stop crying. She finally got brave enough to look again into the empty tomb. It was getting a little lighter by now.
As she stooped down and looked into the empty tomb, she saw two angels sitting there. One sat at the head and one at the feet of where Jesus had lain.
Woman, why are you crying?” The Angels wanted to know.
“Because they have taken my Lord away and I don’t know where they’ve taken him.”
Mary turned around with fresh tears in her eyes and saw Jesus, whom she guessed was probably the Gardener.
“Why are you crying woman?” He asked.
Jesus spoke her name in that familiar voice.
There was something in the way he spoke her name.
- It was the same voice that had spoken forgiveness to her when she was a sinner.
- It was the same voice that had spoken healings and miracles to the multitudes.
- If she knew any voice in the world, she knew that voice.
She wiped the tears away enough to see him better.
“Rabboni!” She said. (Which is another word for Master.)
Her first reaction was the desire to throw her arms around him and never let him go. Jesus knew that, and simple said…
“Do not touch me, for I have not yet be glorified. Just go to my brethren, and tell them that I am alive. I have risen!”
- That is exactly what Mary did.
- Seeing Jesus turned her tears into joy.
- This is what Jesus is still doing.
- Let Him turn your sorrow into joy today!
It’s what the hope of the Resurrection is all about!
Celebrate Easter this Sunday by Receiving the Holy Ghost, the power of the Resurrection.
If you do… You too will rise again!
John Chapter 20
The Empty Tomb
1 The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.
Mary Find Peter And John
2 Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.
3 Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre.
4 So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.
5 And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in.
6 Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie,
7 And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.
8 Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed.
9 For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.
10 Then the disciples went away again unto their own home.
Mary Can’t Stop Crying
11 But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre,
12 And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.
13 And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.
Mary Meets Jesus And Doesn’t Recognize Him
14 And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.
15 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.
16 Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.
Mary Sent To Tell The Apostles
17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.
18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.
Jesus Among His Disciples
19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
20 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.
21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:
23 Whose so ever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose so ever sins ye retain, they are retained.
24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.
25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.
26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.
27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.
28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.
29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: 31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
The Most Dangerous Road of All
My wife Marcia was raised about 100 miles from where I lived in South Bend, Indiana. After we married and would often visit her parents in Albion, Michigan. We sometimes took a shortcut that included a country road with a bad curve.
“That’s Dead Man’s Curve,” my wife would say every time we came to the turn.
I remembered, mainly, because she wouldn’t let me forget. So I always slowed down and tried to be extra cautious on that curve. I didn’t want to be the next dead man.
That Road Was Bad, But That’s Not The Most Dangerous Road Of All
The Tail Of The Dragon
One of the most challenging stretches of road for a motorcyclist to navigate in North America is a stretch of Hwy 129 between Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and Cherokee, North Carolina. It’s called the ‘Tail Of The Dragon. The two-lane road boasts of 318 curves in eleven miles.
During the tourist season, it seems like some cyclist is having an accident everyday. Many ignore the 15 mph warning signs on many of the curves and think it is great fun to take them faster.
At the end of Dragon Tail, there are trees with wrecked motorcycle parts as decoration and reminders that the road is unforgiving.
I’ve ridden it four times, and I am grateful to still be alive.
That Road Was Bad, But That’s Not The Most Dangerous Road Of All
The Death Road
In Bolivia there is the infamous “North Yungas Road”, also known as “Death Road” It is a 43-mile road leading from La Paz to Coroico.
It is known for its extreme danger and in 1995 the Inter-American Development Bank named it the “world’s most dangerous road”.
Approximately 200 to 300 travellers are killed yearly along the road. The road includes cross markings on many of the spots where vehicles have fallen.
But That’s Not The Most Dangerous Road Of All
The Most Dangerous Road In The World Is A Road Called, “Revenge.”
Bitterness will consume your very life. It will be the driving force that veers you off the road of Peace. Many will be defiled or injured, according to the Scripture.
If you are still trying to find happiness in the ‘Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth’ concept… then you are doomed to living an unfulfilled life. It is a road with no future for a Child of God.
Have you never heard of the feud between the Hatfield and McCoy families? Learn from them too.
How long will you allow a war to go on in your world? It has to stop somewhere.
God chooses to be the One that handles everything in the revenge department of life. One of the best decisions anyone can ever make is to turn the care of all of their injuries and injustices to the Lord.
The Defense Never Rests
After the State has presented its charges against the defendant in a court of law, it signifies to the judge that it is finished by saying in open court, “The State rests.”
The Defense Attorney then begins to present a defense for his client, which hopefully will offer reasonable doubt to the mind of the jury. When the Defense has exhausted its resources and explanations, it too announces in similar manner, “The Defense rests.”
When the Defense rests, there is not much more to be said on behalf of the accused. The trial is about over. The defendant’s life is ready to be handed over to the jury.
My Father’s Funeral Sermon
The eloquent and ‘adopted’ other son of the late Carl J. Ballestero’s family, is Bro. A.W. Buie Jr. He was deeply loved by my Father. Bro. Bill Buie showered Dad with great honor and affection. At my Father’s funeral in September of 1994, Bro Buie brought me to tears as he preached one of the most beautiful messages I have ever heard. He entitled the funeral sermon, “The Defense Rests.”
Pastors and preachers are but mere mortals. Their life span is measured out on heaven’s Time-Line and no one can lengthen it. There are only so many sermons a man can preach as he reaches for the lost and hurting before he dies. His hope of seeing mercy for the guilty is limited only by his short life. Although they died, hope has not died with them.
There Is One Defense Attorney Who Is Not Dead, And He Never Rests.
- He NEVER quits,
- He never gives in,
- He never gives up.
Jesus Is The Advocate (Defense Attorney)
1 John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
- An Advocate is a Defense Attorney. Jesus is our Defense Attorney.
He Makes Daily Intercession For Us.
Rom 8:34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
- Notice the progressive verb ending, ‘eth’ on maketh. That means Jesus Christ will never stop making intercession for us.
Heb 7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
Simply put, The Lord Jesus is our Defense Attorney. That’s what the Cross was all about. From the moment He spoke the words, “Father forgive them,” He officially became our Advocate.
Believe the Word of God.
The Lord has not, and will not give up on us. No matter what the charges are against us, may our hearts have peace knowing that if we sin, we have a Defense Attorney that won’t give up on us.
What Is The Price Of His Retainer?
Repentance. If we are willing to repent, then this blessed opportunity is waiting for us. We must not stop until we have fully obeyed Acts 2:38, just like all of the New Testament church believers did.
Don’t give up on yourself. You’ve got the best Defense Attorney in the world!
He ever liveth to make intercession for you!
He Called You A Liar!
Who did? David did. David called us all liars. He even wrote it down on paper too, so everyone would read it and know that’s what he said.
Ps 116:11 I said in my haste, All men are liars.
Defending Your Honor
In the not too distant past, men that were called liars, felt the need to defend their honor in a duel with a sword or a pistol. The outcome proved little except who was a better shot or swordsman. Not much was actually solved about the lying part. Sometimes it was the liar that lived because he was better with a gun.
Generations ago, a man’s word was his bond. Today? No one believes what you say! Don’t even argue that point.
This Generation Takes It For Granted That Everyone Lies.
Even The State You Live In Thinks You Might Be A Liar
Two weeks ago, I applied for a Driver’s License in a new state. I also needed to get license plates for my vehicle. The exercise took a total of eight frustrating trips to the DMV before we had all the papers they required.
We rounded up all the below, because they said the state law required it:
- My old Driver’s License
- My Birth Certificate – original with a seal
- My Passport
- Two utility bills at the new address
- Proof of Insurance purchased in the new state.
- Receipt of Property Tax payment.
- The old Car Registration.
- The Car Title
- Our Marriage License. (Yes, we needed our Marriage License to get our Drivers License… Who knew?)
I had to have all of that before they would even give me an eye exam and take my picture.
- My word wasn’t good enough.
- They required proof that I was who I said I was.
When You Travel, Your Government Suspects You Of Lying
The TSA will thoroughly check you to make sure you are whom you say and that you are mostly harmless.
- They check your documents,
- They will check your possessions,
- They will check your body language,
- And, then they check you. I mean, they will check you.
- They will check you with metal detectors,
- They will check you with body imaging machines,
- They will check your body with their hands.
Business Men Suspect You Of Lying
- They give Credit Checks on all prospective customers.
- Most contracts are not even valid without a signature, and two witnesses.
- We then, must have Lawyers or Notary Publics to witness and verify the transaction.
In The Court Room.
- A witness will have to place one hand on a Bible and raise the other one to affirm that they will tell the truth.
- They then are placed under oath to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
- The Court, the Lawyers and the Jury then tries to determine if someone is lying.
- Lawyers want their witness to be ‘believable.’
These Are But A Few Things That This Generation Submits To, To Prove They Are Not Lying.
- God knows when we lie!
- You can’t fool Him.
- He even has His own tests constructed to show Him, and all others when we lie.
- One of the first and most important of these Divine tests is simply this:
1Jn 4:20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
1Jn 4:21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.
Have You Been Lying Lately?
Everyone Deserves To Be Loved!
I grew up knowing nothing but the blessing of a loving family. Sure we were poor! We lived below the poverty level for years. It didn’t feel like we were poor, because of the warmth of love from family and friends. Not everyone in this world is so fortunate. Not everyone knows how it feels to be loved all your life.
- Does not know where his or her next meal is coming from.
- Does not know where he or she is spending the night.
- He or she does not live with either the mother or the father.
While defining a problem is helpful, no definition illustrates the plight of abandoned children as clearly as the following set of statistics:
- Every 2 seconds, a child becomes an orphan.
Nearly 60,000 children are reported to be abused or neglected each week in America, with an estimated 900,000 confirmations of violence every year. When these children are dumped into foster care, they too often lose not only their childhood, but their dreams, and their futures.
- 40,000 new infants are placed in foster care each year
- 25 percent of the individuals who end up in prison spent time in foster care
- 30 percent of all people who are homeless spent time in Foster Care
- The average number of home placements per child is three
- Girls in foster care are six times more likely to give birth before the age of 21
- 50 percent of foster youth are unemployed four years after leaving foster care
- 37 percent – 48 percent of foster children don’t finish high school
- Only 7 percent of foster children attend a four-year college
- Only 1 percent of foster children graduate from a four-year college
2011 CHILDREN’S ADVOCACY CENTER STATISTICS (January through June) 3
Among the over 141,000 children served by Children’s Advocacy Centers around the country from January through June 2011, some startling statistics include:
- 53,932 children were ages 0 to 6 years
- 51,196 children were ages 7 to 12 years
- 36,131 children were ages 13 to 18 years
- 95,120 children reported sexual abuse
- 25,414 children reported physical abuse
- 88,312 children participated in forensic interviewing at a Children’s Advocacy Center
Among the over 116,000 alleged offenders investigated for instances of child abuse from January through June 2011, some startling statistics include:
- 75,829 were 18+ years old
- 11,973 were ages 13 to 17 years
- 7,911 were under age 13 years
- 45,496 were a parent or step-parent of the victim
- 23,763 were related to the child victim in another way
- 36,628 were an unrelated person the victim knew
Parents Selling Babies
News reporters tell of parents selling babies on the black market. We only know about the ones that got caught.
Between 600,000 and 6 million women are victims of domestic violence each year, and between 100,000 and 6 million men, depending on the type of survey used to obtain the data.
Separated and divorced males and females are at a greater risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence.
On average, more than three women and one man are murdered by their intimate partners in this country every day.
Too many spouses feel the pain of rejection. Below are compiled statistics on infidelity and marriage:
- Percentage of marriages that end in divorce in America: 53%
- Percentage of men who admit to committing infidelity in any relationship they’ve had: 57%
- Percentage of women who admit to committing infidelity in any relationship they’ve had: 54%
- Percentage of men who say they would have an affair if they knew they would never get caught: 74%
- Percentage of women who say they would have an affair if they knew they would never get caught: 68%
1639 Buried In A Mass Grave This Month
I have grieved all week for the unclaimed bodies that were recently buried in a mass grave. No one claimed them. Most were never missed. Others, family members knew they died, but decided to let the county bury them.
- The annual mass burial in LA has been a December custom since 1896.
- The remains of 1,639 people were buried this year.
- The coroner’s office says bodies of those never claimed are kept in storage for two to three years before being sent to the common grave.
- There currently are 5,199 people on the coroner’s unclaimed persons list.
The overwhelming feeling of loneliness, weighs heavy. For some, it is too much to endure. (Note: suicide should never an option.)
All these facts are stark indicators to me of a world without love. True love.
The Most Beautiful Love Anyone Could Ever Experience, Is The Love Of God.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Jesus Really Loves You!
- Let Him be your Comforter
John 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
- Let Him Be That Friend That Sticketh Closer Than A Brother.
Proverbs 18:24 …there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
- He Loved Us First! Even, While We Were Sinners.
1 John 4:19 We love him, because he first loved us.
There is a precious old song that still brings tears to my eyes. It’s called, “No One Ever Cared For Me Like Jesus.”
“No One Ever Cared For Me Like Jesus”
Words and Music by C.F. Weigle
I would love to tell you what I think of Jesus,
Since I found in Him a friend so strong and true;
I would tell you how He changed my life completely,
He did something that no other friend could do.
No one ever cared for me like Jesus,
There’s no other friend so kind as He;
No one else could take the sin and darkness from me,
O how much He cared for me.
All my life was full of sin when Jesus found me,
All my heart was full of misery and woe;
Jesus placed His strong and loving arms about me,
And He led me in the way I ought to go.
No one ever cared for me like Jesus,
There’s no other friend so kind as He;
No one else could take the sin and darkness from me,
O how much He cared for me.
Ev’ry day He comes to me with new assurance,
More and more I understand His words of love;
But I’ll never know just why He came to save me,
Till some day I see His blessed face above.
No one ever cared for me like Jesus,
There’s no other friend so kind as He;
No one else could take the sin and darkness from me,
O how much He cared for me.
He Loves You, Even When No One Else Does.
- He’s Been Waiting A Long Time For You To Love Him Back.
- His Love Is Unconditional.
- His Love Never Ends!
Everyone Deserves To Be Loved. That’s How God Thinks!
Why I Don’t Own A Revised Standard Version Of The Bible.
First Of All, It Is A “New” Bible, Not A Translation. Over 6,000 changes are found in the RSV.
It is a modernistic interpretation. Liberals who reject the fundamental doctrines of the Word of God produced it. A modernist is one who:
- Denies the virgin birth of Jesus Christ.
- Denies the Deity of Jesus Christ.
- Denies that the blood of Jesus saves from sin.
It Makes Drastic Changes That Are Unacceptable. Here Are Just A Few.
KJV Genesis 6:3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
RSV Genesis 6:3 Then the LORD said, “My spirit shall not abide in man for ever, for he is flesh, but his days shall be a hundred and twenty years.”
- The meaning is completely changed.
KJV Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
RSV Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a young woman shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
- There is a major difference between virgin and young woman.
KJV Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remissionof sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
RSV Acts 2:38 And Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
- Remission is more than forgiveness. It is the complete removal of the cause of the offence.
KJV Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
RSV Hebrews 12:2 looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
KJV Luke 24:6 He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee,
RSV Luke 24:6 Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee,
- What happened to “He is not here, but is risen:”?
KJV Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
KJV Mark 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
KJV Mark 16:17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
KJV Mark 16:18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
RSV Mark 16:9-20 is left out of their Bible.
KJV John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
RSV John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.
KJV John 1:18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
RSV John 1:18 No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known.
- They do not like the word “begotten”.
KJV Colossians 1:14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
RSV Colossians 1:14in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
- The blood is missing again.
Any Bible that denies the virgin birth of Jesus Christ, His Deity, and Redemption through His shed Blood, has no place of my book shelf.
Wolff, MJ (1953) “The New Bible” – The Pentecostal Herald November 1953, page 4, 13
Beaten To Pieces
The thugs used their brute strength to inflict injury. They meant to do major hurt to their victim. Most of them didn’t even know the man. They didn’t care. They were professional killers. They were just carrying out orders from their boss.
Someone hit him in the face. Another smashed him on top of his head. Blood ran freely down his face and was smeared all over his cheeks.
Then the real beatings began. They hit him. They hit him again. Then they hit him some more. They beat him till his flesh turned black and blue. His arms had horrible bruises. His bruised back and sides looked like a slab of freshly butchered meat. His body was a bloody mess from the beating he took. It was as if they had beaten him to pieces.
His hands were tied. His legs were so weakened he could barely stand. He wasn’t very old either. He looked young, maybe early thirties or so.
That they wanted him to die was apparent. No one could believe this was really happening! He was a good man. Yet they were beating him to a bloody pulp. It was almost like they wanted this to be a public spectacle. They didn’t care if anyone watched them beat him senseless or not.
He was totally surrounded by his enemies. There was no one willing to come to his aid. It was just a matter of time.
Why were they doing this?
Where were the authorities?
Someone wanted him dead, real dead.
The bystanders were frozen in their tracks.
They all knew if they intervened, they would be beaten next.
Grown men winced with each blow as the looked at him. Mothers shielded their children’s eyes from the view. They didn’t want their little innocent eyes seeing such a terrible sight.
Bruises covered what the crowd could see of his body. They were deep ones too. Every bruise seemed to be smeared with blood. He looked a mess.
If they were going to kill him, why not do it? Why just bloody and bruise his body up like this? What was the point?
Really, What Was Point? Isaiah 53:5 Was The Point!
Isaiah 53:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
“Bruise: A primitive root (compare <H1794> (dakah)); … (literal or figurative) :- beat to pieces, break (in pieces), bruise….”
Strong’s Greek & Hebrew Dictionary.
Over 700 years before Jesus Christ was born, Isaiah prophesied that the Savior would allow Himself to not only die for our sins, but to be bruised, and to be ‘beaten to pieces.’ Why? It was for our iniquities.
When the enemy of our soul says that we have sinned too bad to ever be forgiven, remember His bruises. He allowed Himself to be ‘beaten to pieces’ for our iniquities. He went through that so you would know He loved you enough to always forgive you.
Thank You Jesus!
The Little Town They Call “Peace”
The traveler was tired. He limped a bit, favoring his right side because of the hole in his shoe sole. His worn clothes gave proof that his journey had been long and filled with much hardship. Exposure to the elements had darkened and weathered his skin. His eyes squinted in the afternoon sun.
The barefooted farmer stopped weeding his front yard and leaned on the handle of his hoe for a moment. He watched the man walking down the dirt road while he caught his breath. The traveler stopped and turned to face him.
With a warm smile he said, “Howdy.”
The farmer returned his greeting.
“Pardon me sir,” he said, “which way do I go through those mountains yonder, to get to the little town they call Peace?”
The farmer smiled back and turned thoughtfully toward the distant mountains. The big valley before them stretched for several miles.
“Well sir,” the farmer began, “since ya asked me about Peace, I reckon you already know it ain’t the easiest place for some folk to git to. But those that have a hankerin’ to find it, always seem to find it.”
“Yes sir. I’ve lived for years back yonder in a place called Turmoil. I was born there on Division Street, right beside Rumor Alley.
“Nothing but stormy weather there almost year ‘round. I just couldn’t stay another day.
“When I heard someone talk about this place they call Peace, I sold out and headed in this direction.”
“I see,” the farmer said as he walked closer to the traveler. Stooping down, he picked up a small stick, knelt on one knee and began to draw a map of sorts in the dirt. As he drew, he began to talk.
“You can’t get there without going through The Blood,” he explained while drawing with his stick. When you get through there,” he said making an “X”, “here is where you’ll come to Obedience Road. That is the main road and it is well-marked. There are some signs that have been posted along the way to help folk.
“Then you’ll come to Submission Mountain before long. Watch for the sign. It’ll take you on up through Patience Pass. You can’t miss it.
“Keep following that trail. It will lead you through the summit of Forgiveness. It’s a gentle town with good people in it.
“You ain’t got far to go now. Just past there a ways, a beautiful valley opens up. That’s where the town of Peace is. Right in the middle.”
The farmer drew another “X” in the dirt and then threw the stick away as he stood to his feet.
“Well, iffin it was me,” he said, “once I got there, I’d build me a house and never leave.”
“Thank you kindly sir,” the traveler said as they shook hands, “I don’t aim too.”
Don’t Put Yourself At Risk
I stood in one of the many lines at Denver’s Casa Bonita, a number of years ago, waiting to order. In the adjoining line on my right was a man dressed in National Hot Rod Association racing attire, complete with his number and sponsor patches. He was the center of attention for 20 feet around. People were congratulating him on his race that day and shaking his hand. Other’s asked for his autograph. Some asked questions about the race.
He said that the other racer had already received six cornea re-attachments. He explained that the dragsters go very fast, and that while the sudden stopping of the car is good, it is bad on the eyes.
He explained that the eyes are the softest and weakest part of the body, and while the body and the car stop, the pressure pushes the cornea forward often causing a detachment. That’s why I don’t use two. They make me stop too quickly.
I only using one, I have only had two retina re-attachments so far. He held up his trophy and said, “But it’s worth the risk.”
The piece of metal he held in his hands and the applause of men in his mind was worth risking his eyesight forever.
Sadly enough, some folks around our churches are risking more than their corneas. They are putting their souls at risk.
Saints Are Putting Themselves At Risk:
1. By Name Calling
(Mat 5:21) Ye have heard that it was said by them of old-time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:
(Mat 5:22) But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
- “In danger of hell fire!” –if you call your brother a liar, fool, be careful!
- Name calling is dangerous.
2. By Rebelling Against Your Leadership.
- Ask Korah – he disagreed with Moses and rallied support against him.
- 200 princes stood on wrong side of the argument. They too were swallowed up with Korah.
- Don’t ever fight against your pastor.
- Don’t hang around critical (Railers) people. You’ll inherit their spirit.
- A Critical Spirit
- Murmur – Criticized
- God Sent Fiery Serpents because they murmured
4. By Disrespecting The Man Of God
- Bethel – 42 children mauled by bears.
- The children’s parents put them at risk for talking negative about their Prophet. Children are always put at risk, by their unspiritual parents.
5. By Becoming Holier Than The Pastor
- Once this happens, he can never teach you.
- Now, you think you know more than him.
- Your standards are higher, so he can’t ‘help’ you.
- No matter if you have convictions about something and your pastor doesn’t, that does not give you the right to disrespect him as long as he is still in the Truth.
6. Moving To Another Church For A Bad Reason
- Not every transplant is successful.
- Never TELL your pastor you are moving. ASK him what he thinks and have him pray with you about it.
- If he does not feel good about your moving, then there must be a reason.
- Make sure you have your pastor’s blessing and approval
7. Lot’s Choice Put His Family at risk.
- Your decisions in life always include those you love.
8. If You Marry The Unsaved Or Backslidden
- You are going against all of God’s Advice.
- I sincerely ask you not to make that mistake.
9. Don’t Marry The Heathen
- Lest you learn their ways and it becomes an abomination
- Marry heathen,
- Unequally yoked
- Your flesh may think it’s OK, but your spiritual man will always be affected for the worse.
10. By Robbing God
- Do you have God’s money in your bank account right now?
- You cannot afford NOT to pay tithes.
- If you delight in the blessings of the Lord, you will NEVER have them without putting Him first.
- Give Him the first fruits of you income, The Tithe.
11. By Being Unfaithful To Church
- Your faithful attendance to God’s House has already been decided.
- Heb. 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
- The night you miss is often the night God had a Word, just for you. That’s why the devil kept you home.
12. By Prayerlessness
- Every day without prayer puts you and your family at greater risk.
- Why would you ignore the very lifeblood of your experience with God?
13. By Ignoring The Word Of God
- None of us ever get too smart or too holy to ignore God’s Commandments.
- When God says something, He means it.
- When God says something, there’s a reason.
14. By Not Responding When God Speaks To You.
- Ignoring God will always get you in trouble. Ask Jonah.
15. By Choosing To Become Offended.
- How long will you let a war go on?
- Life is too short to die bitter.
- Bitterness will destroy you and curse your family.
- Forgive, and love again.
Never Knowingly Put Your Self At Risk
When Men Forgive
Matthew 6:14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
Matthew 6:15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
My dear uncle was once asked to dismiss a Sunday morning service in prayer. He was momentarily caught off guard. During his prayer, a few of his words got tangled up and didn’t come out right. Someone behind him snickered. It was funny!
He was mortified however, that anyone would find humor in his attempt at prayer. My uncle didn’t come back to church that night. He didn’t come back that week, or that month. He didn’t come back that year. Actually, he didn’t come back for the next 54 years because he was offended.
With great joy I can tell you that as an old man, he walked back down the aisle and prayed back through. He died at 90 years of age, fully in love with Jesus, His church, and it’s people. But he wasted 54 years because he had gotten offended.
How long are you willing to let a war go on? When men forgive, it releases the forgiveness of God upon their lives. It’s not an accident; it’s how God planned it from the beginning.
Matthew 5:7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
An old pastor I know kept his prized gaited horses in a large stable. Outside his horse barn was an expensive horse trailer with living quarters and a one-ton pickup truck.
A drugged-up teenager set fire one night to the stables and burnt it down. The horse trailer and truck were destroyed too. Thankfully most of the horses were saved. It was a huge financial loss for the pastor.
The fire took place during a time when there was a 3-day lapse of insurance coverage. The culprit was arrested, tried and found guilty. The prosecutor asked the court for a minimum sentence of 40 years for the teen.
At the sentencing, the pastor stood up in court and asked permission to speak on behalf of the defendant. The judge raised his eyebrows and said; “You understand that the state is prosecuting him on your behalf?”
“Yes, your honor, I understand, and I thank you. But the state has not suffered any loss. I am the only one that has, so if anyone has a right to speak, I think I should.”
The judge nodded his permission.
“Your Honor, I beg you not to sent this young man to prison for 40 years. If you do, he may never get to hear about Acts 2:38, the only message of salvation. No one in prison may ever tell him that he needs to repent of his sins, be baptized in Jesus name and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost to be saved.
“Your Honor, this young man may never get to hear that God is able to deliver him from all of his addictions in one night. Don’t send him to prison, put him on probation for at least 3 years, order him to come to my church and sit on the front row every service. Allow me to try to reach him with the love of God.”
With tears welling up in his eyes, the judge brought the gavel down and said, “It is so ordered.”
Two years later, the pastor’s youngest son stood in the same courtroom with the same judge and prosecutor. The son was on trial for possession of drugs again. The prosecutor was asking for a minimum sentence of 25 years.
When the State finally rested it’s case, the defense attorney and the pastor’s son both stood up. The defense attorney never attempted to present a defense. He simply said, “Your Honor, we throw ourselves upon the mercies of this Court.”
The judge looked at the defendant and then at his attorney. He said, “Would you like to settle this today once and for all?”
“Yes your Honor, we would,” was the reply.
At that, the prosecutor got up and walked out of the courtroom. The judge with impassioned tones looked at the pastor’s son and then began.
“I hate everything about you. You are despicable. You are without any social redeeming value. You are a blight on this community. You are an embarrassment to the church your father pastor’s and you are a shame to him as well.
“If I had my way, I’d put you in prison for the rest of your life, throw the key away and sleep good every night. DO YOU HEAR ME?” He shouted!
“Yes you Honor,” said the son with tears streaming down his face.
“Two years ago, another young man stood in this courtroom and was found guilty. Your father begged for mercy for him, even though he didn’t deserve mercy. Because of that I am going to give you mercy.” He paused for effect.
“That will be $50.00, and don’t you ever come back to my court again!” The sound of the gavel concluded the trial.
The old pastor and his son stopped by the church on their way home from court. The backslidden son prayed back through to a renewing of the Holy Ghost. Today, he is an Assistant Pastor!
It pays to forgive!
Matthew 18:23-35 tells a story of a King who checked his records and found that a certain servant owed him a large sum of money. (Approximately $3 billion dollars at today’s values.)
When the servant could not pay the King back, he was sentenced to prison and all his possessions to be sold. He begged for mercy, and forgiveness was granted. The debt completely wiped out.
The forgiven servant walked away from his own session of mercy and soon found a man who owed him the modern equivalent of $15.00 dollars. He grabbed the man around the neck and ordered him to pay. When he couldn’t, he had him thrown into the debtor’s prison.
The King heard about this and called the servant before him again. In anger, the king took back the forgiveness of the debt. He does to the servant, exactly what the servant had done to his fellow-man. He threw him into prison until he could repay the debt.
This story explains to us that King Jesus has forgiven us a debt of sin that we could never repay. Yet we get enraged over the $15 dollars someone ‘owes’ us, and we won’t forgive them of that small debt.
You may think your problem with a brother or a sister is a major injustice to your world. Your bitterness will overwhelm you to the point that you are eaten up with your hurt and have no peace in your spirit.
What was done to you may be a mountain so big you can’t get over it. But according to this parable, in heaven’s estimations it’s just a $15 dollar problem. Don’t die bitter and unforgiving. Forgive your brother fully and completely, just like Jesus forgave you of your sins. You do not want Him to take back his forgiveness of your sins, just because you wouldn’t forgive your brother.
Matthew 18:35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.
Hell would like nothing better than to see God’s people destroyed because of unforgiveness. Some folks say they’ve buried the hatchet. They may have, but they must have forgotten to bury the handle too.
Deer hunters know that a sure way to get a trophy deer is to use camouflage. Give the deer what it wants, by putting out bait. It won’t be long then before the deer is hung on the wall. The hunter then brags on his trophy for the rest of his life.
Even non-hunters understand the principle. Why can’t we see that is also how Satan kills us with bitterness? He camouflages a situation, puts out the bait. He then shoots us down, and hangs our hide on his wall. He will brag on what he did to us forever.
Being offended is a choice. We choose to be offended. We can also choose not to be offended. Now, go forgive your brother. Don’t let Satan brag on you.