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Posts Tagged ‘Easter’

Clarity and Certainty

March 31st, 2018

The resurrection shouts truth with certainty.

 “That you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.” Luke 1:4 NIV.       

My thoughts and comments today are about, clarity and certainty.”

You probably try not to think much about death, until something happens that does not allow that luxury. It seems more pleasant to ignore that undesired eventuality as much and as long as you can. But you are mortal; no matter how you suppress your feelings or disguise that fact. No one lives forever. And death is that unavoidable reality; you just don’t know how or when.

Until Jesus returns, the Psalmist’s words endure, “No one can live forever; all will die. No one can escape the power of the grave.” Psalm 89:48 NIV. Now that sounds grim, doesn’t it? Death is grim and unpleasant because it is unnatural to us. But there is good news. “That by His death He might destroy him who holds the power of death – that is, the devil – and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.” Hebrews 2:14-16 NIV. You were created to be eternal, in the image and likeness of your Creator. Sin introduced death, not God. Romans 5:12-19 NIV. The dread of death causes despair. That was true at man’s origin, and it is true now.

Days earlier, harsh realities replaced dreams and hopes the Christ-followers held, challenging everything they believed about faith and the future. Despair shoved hope aside. They stumbled, ”back home,” back to life as it had been; to pick up what little seemed left – broken, bewildered, and discouraged. Things they thought possible before, seemed impossible now. Things sure to them days before, now posed troubling questions. You will face times when life is hard and you feel like turning around. You might ask yourself, “What’s the use?” Something will seem to have erased your future, but your future is safe and secure in God’s hands.

Then came Easter morning! “All honor to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for it is by His boundless mercy that God has given us the privilege of being born again. Now we live with a wonderful expectation because Jesus Christ rose again from the dead.” 1 Peter 1:3 NLT. Christ’s resurrection validates His power over death, proving that Jesus is the Lord of life, the conqueror of death. “God raised [Jesus] from the dead . . because it was not possible for death to keep its hold on Him.” Acts 2:24 NIV. Resurrection is the demonstration of God’s power, conquering your worst and last enemy; in comparison, everything else you will ever face is minor for God to do.

The amazing thing about Jesus is that His life began and ended with an impossibility. Earlier today, my friend, Amos, described the unique miracle of the Incarnation and Resurrection this way, “Jesus came into a world marked, ‘no entrance,’ through a virgin’s womb, and left our world through a door marked, ‘no exit,’ out from a borrowed tomb.”

How could we not celebrate such a supernatural and sacrificial life? Jesus said, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” Luke 18:27. Luke thought it important to establish for others what he knew to be true, “Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.” Luke 1:3-4 NIV.

Easter is far more than a date on the Spring calendar, even more than a fact of history. Easter remains forever a current event, more relevant to your well-being than anything in today’s headlines. Easter makes sense of everything that has not made any sense at all. The empty Garden tomb made sense of the agony of Gethsemane and the cruelty of Calvary. The Resurrection introduced possibilities beyond anything His followers had previously imagined when standing in the darkening shadow of the cross. Jesus’ birth, death, burial, and resurrection made impossibilities become possible.

Jesus’ Resurrection shouts truth with clarity and certainty over every question, doubt, and fear. And Easter offers the same for you today. Jesus’ Resurrection guarantees yours. Death will not be the last word. Life is the final word spoken over you, life now and life everlasting. “Then the end will come, when He hands over the Kingdom to God the Father after He has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all his enemies under His feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” 1 Corinthians 15:24-27 NIV. Meanwhile, God gives you the opportunity to live with wonderful expectation.

Today I pray for you to live with certainty and expectancy that nothing is impossible with God.

Christian Communications 2018

Website and archives: allenrandolph.com

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Crowned with Thorns

April 13th, 2017

A crown of thorns testifies to His suffering and your salvation

“Twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on His head.” Matthew 27:29 NAS

My thoughts and comments today are about, crowned with thorns.”

Good Friday is a day unlike any other before or since. On this day, Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God and Sovereign of Heaven’s Kingdom, died for the sins of all the world. On His head was a crown, but not one you would suppose the Son of God should have worn. He wore a crown of cruel thorns, not a gold, bejeweled crown a Sovereign would wear. Heaven’s royalty was subjected to earth’s worst cruelty. Those thorns were twisted together by the hands of mocking soldiers who saw nothing more than a common criminal who would die for his crimes. To them He was no more than another day’s work in a troublesome province of Rome’s conquest.

Some years ago, while in England with my friend, Andrew took me to tour the Tower of London where the spectacular, British Crown Jewels are kept. The priceless Crown Jewels are displayed in a collection of such incomparable beauty and incalculable value, being worn only by the monarchs and royal families of Great Britain across centuries. In cruel contrast, the crown Jesus wore was common not priceless, of pain not beauty, imposed with rejection and ridicule not recognition or honor.

Anyone familiar with this part of Texas knows about mesquite thorns, an inch or more long, hard as a nail, and sharp as a needle. They can puncture a tire or shoe, and never break. The thorns of Palestine were much like that. And that cruel crown was painfully forced deep into Jesus’ scalp where the nerves and blood vessels are closest to the skin, resulting in immediate and immense pain and profuse bleeding. It was our sins not His that pressed them into His brow.

From where did those thorns come? Thorns came from the original sin in the Garden of Eden. To Adam and Eve, God said, “The ground is cursed for your sake . . thorns it shall bring forth for you.” Genesis 3:17-18. Appropriately, His crown of thorns represented the consequence of your sins and mine. Isaiah wrote, “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him . . and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” Read Isaiah 53:3-6 NKJV.

But Jesus wore that crown of shame and pain that would have been yours, and mine. In the great exchange of redemption, Jesus wore your crown that spoke of sin and judgment, to give you His crown, the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:8 NKJV. But Easter – His resurrection – promises a greater day will yet dawn when God shall have “crowned (our Lord) with glory and honor.” Psalm 8:5 NIV.

His crown of thorns that spoke of our sin has been exchanged for a crown of glory that testifies of our salvation. “We see Jesus . . now crowned with glory and honor because He suffered death, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.” Hebrews 2:9 NIV. Read Psalm 21:3-6 NLT. No wonder we call this Friday good!

Today, I pray for you to reflect on the awful, awesome price Jesus paid for your salvation.

Christian Communications 2017-4210

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Assumptions and Conclusions

March 25th, 2016

Good Friday. Gayle and I pray for you to have a glorious Easter celebration of our Savior’s Resurrection. Below today’s Devotional comments, I have shared a link to view a charming video of children telling the Easter story in the simplicity and wonder that only children possess. Click on “The Tomb Is Still Empty” to watch the brief video . . Blessings!

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“They took Jesus down from the cross and laid Him in a tomb.” Acts 13:29 NASB.

Never allow your assumptions to become conclusions.

My thoughts and comments about “assumptions and conclusions.”

You make assumptions every day; people and circumstances are seldom as you anticipate. You make assumptions about others and they make assumptions about you. As often as not, those are not particularly accurate. I am sure there are too many times when people assumed better of me than I achieved. Hopefully, there have been other occasions when I accomplished better than others’ presumed I could or would. There are two things I have learned. Never allow your assumptions to become conclusions. And always leave room to be pleasantly surprised.

Jesus often surprises people. As a twelve-year-old, Jesus’ parents, “found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers.” Luke 2:46-47 NKJV. Who could have expected a preteen to be as comprehending and conversant as those learned men who were his seniors? Jesus continued to be misjudged and misunderstood. In Jesus’ home town of Nazareth, those who knew Him were astounded. “What is this wisdom that is given to Him, that He even does miracles? Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son?” Mark 6:3 NIV. Jesus always confounded others’ assumptions about Him, and continues to do so today.

This seems most relevant to me as my thoughts turn to this Easter weekend, and as we consider the horrendous betrayal, and cruel, unjust suffering of Jesus, and observe His sacrificial death on the cross as though a common criminal. But Friday was not the end of His story; Calvary was just the beginning. “When they had carried out all that was written concerning Him, they took Jesus down from the cross and laid Him in a tomb.” Acts 13:29 NASB. His disciples saw His cruel and public death, watched his lifeless body buried and the tomb sealed and guarded. They assumed what seemed obvious was unchangeable.

On the cross, when Jesus declared, “It is finished,” what God had intended and prophets had foretold had only just begun. Some disciples headed home. Others returned to former pursuits. Confused and afraid, some felt too lost to do much of anything yet. His disciples and followers assumed Jesus’ death was final. Death always had been.

“But God raised Jesus from the dead!” Read Acts 13:30-31 NASB. An empty tomb was a surprise to everyone. In an unprecedented, miraculous occurrence nothing was ever the same again. God changes assumptions. Assumptions need not be conclusions. Easter changed the disciples’ assumptions forever. Jesus’ resurrection became the prevailing theme of the Apostles’ teaching and remains the Church’s signal testimony throughout the centuries that followed. “And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all.” Acts 4:33 NKJV. And still there’s more: “If the Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from death, lives in you, then He who raised Christ from death will also give life to your mortal bodies by the presence of His Spirit in you.” Romans 8:11 TEV.

Easter is God’s promise that nothing is impossible, no circumstance hopeless, no distress unchangeable. My lifelong prayer and pursuit has been, ”I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection.” Read Philippians 3:10-11 AMP. Jesus’ resurrection pledges abounding life now and eternal life forever.

Today, I pray for you to experience the supernatural power of God in every circumstance.

Blessings, Allen Randolph

Christian Communications 2016

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Empty-tomb-and-verse 

“The Tomb Is Still Empty”

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Now What?

April 11th, 2015

“Did not our hearts burn within . . while He opened the Scriptures to us?” Luke 24:32 NKJV.

It is possible to know the apparent facts without recognizing the applicable truth.

My thoughts and comments today ask, “Now what?”

Horrific things can happen in life. At times, you may have more questions than answers; questions that are disconcerting and most begin with, “Why?” The more you struggle to make sense of the inexplicable, the less they do. At such times, it seems like every plan you previously made is now in disarray. What you once were sure about feels uncertain. Life doesn’t always go smoothly and tomorrows are rarely what you expect. Bewildered and shaken, you might ask yourself, “Now what?” Maintaining emotional and spiritual equilibrium is essential when life seems uncertain.

Days earlier, churches gathered somberly but gratefully to honor the sacrifice of a sacred life, and then days later gathered in celebration of our Savior’s miraculous resurrection. Before dawn, Gayle and I joined thousands of worshippers for an Easter service on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in our nation’s Capital. The songs, prayers, and sermon were even more inspiring than the radiant sunrise over the Capitol. But Easter Sunday has passed. “Now what?” Dare we return to life as usual?

With your heart, feel Paul’s spiritual  passion as he penned the words, “That I may know Him in the power of His resurrection.” Philippians 3:10. Since college, that has become my “life verse,” and sincere prayer. I hunger to know God to the extent of my ability and His grace. Be assured, Paul is passionate about a personal, experiential knowledge, well beyond mere intellectual information. Intellectually, Paul knew about Jesus and thought Him troublesome. But on the road to Damascus, Paul discovered the Lord Jesus Christ in a more transforming and personal way than he ever knew was possible. Read Acts 9:1-9/18.

I appreciate the added clarity of the Amplified Bible, “[My determined purpose is that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His person more strongly and clearly], and in that same way, come to know the power outflowing from His Resurrection, [which His Resurrection exerts over believers].” Philippians 3:10 AMP. You can only know Jesus intimately and fully when profoundly experiencing, “the power outflowing from His Resurrection.” Also Read 1 Peter 1:3-9 NIV. His Resurrection truth will impact your life now and eternally.

The very afternoon of Jesus’ resurrection, two discouraged disciples left Jerusalem, returning home to Emmaus. They heard the reports of the empty tomb, but could not reconcile the facts they knew with the truth of His Resurrection. Read Luke 24:13-35. The events of the past days were devastating. The One they had loved and followed had been cruelly crucified and privately buried in a guarded tomb. They must have wondered, “Now what?”, as they wandered back to their old lives and livelihood.

It is possible to know the apparent facts without recognizing the applicable truth. The truth and power of His Resurrection had not yet dawned in their hearts. Life without resurrection life is woefully inadequate. “While they conversed and reasoned, Jesus drew near . . but their eyes were restrained, so they did not know Him.” Vs.15-17. The facts they knew blinded them to the truth around them. When Jesus was revealed to them, they said, “Did not our hearts burn within us while He opened the Scriptures to us?” Vs 30-32. Truth abounds in the infallible, eternal Word of God. Read John 8:32-33.

Truth is transformational. “That very hour they returned to Jerusalem saying, ‘The Lord is risen indeed.’” When truth grips your heart, you want to share it with others. Vs. 33-35. Where truth is celebrated, there Jesus appears. “Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them and said, ‘Peace to you.’” Vs. 36-49.

Today, my prayer for you is that you know and love the truth that releases life abundant and eternal.

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The Last Word

April 23rd, 2014

“I am God . . declaring the end from the beginning.” Isaiah 46:10 NKJV.

Be wary of allowing a presumption to become your conclusion.

My thoughts and comments today are about “the last word.”

There will always be a few people who always need to have the last word. They propose to be the final authority on all matters. They must be thought right and others wrong. They expect their opinions to be generally accepted as the best ones. Life doesn’t really work that way in lasting and meaningful relationships. In life, I have learned that the final word is rarely, if ever, yours or mine to give. Life works better, and you and others are happier, when you are content to trust God to have the last word. He does, and will, so why not rest in His righteousness and wisdom?

“For I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure.’” Isaiah 46:9-10 NKJV. God alone knows and declares the end from the beginning. He alone has the last word in your life and over your circumstances, past, present, and future. “According to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His own will.” Read Ephesians 1:3-12 NIV. What God says matters most.

Leave plenty of room in your life and circumstance for God to do as He will, and be as generous to allow the same for others. “From now on, we regard no one according to the flesh . . if anyone is in Christ Jesus, he is a new creation . .” Read 2 Corinthians 5:16-18 NKJV. You are not yet a finished project. Until God speaks, the last word has not been spoken about what you can be or do.

Others may remind you of your failure; God affirms you are forgiven. You may know what you can’t do; remember what God can do. Until you include God, people and things may not be as they could be. Likewise, others do not have the last word about you; God reserves that privilege for Himself. To be encouraged, look up every Scripture that includes, “But God . .” There are plenty.

David ran from King Saul’s evil intent for harm. “Saul sought David every day, but God did not deliver him into Saul’s hand.” 1 Samuel 23:14. David confessed his own weakness, “My flesh and my heart fail, but God is the strength of my heart.” Psalm 73:26. Joseph’s brothers abandoned him; he was wrongly imprisoned on false accusations, “But God was with Him.” Acts 7:9. Listen to Joseph’s own testimony, “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good to bring about this present result.” Genesis 50:20.

In your lifetime, there may be a lot said to you, about you, or against you. But all that does not matter because your Father will have the last word. Easter is a timely reminder that nothing is hopeless, no circumstance final, nor distress unchangeable. “They took Jesus down from the cross and laid Him in a tomb.” Acts 13:29. His disciples saw His cruel and public death, watched his lifeless body being buried and the tomb sealed and guarded.

Some disciples headed back home. Others returned to their former pursuits. Some felt too lost to do much of anything yet. Be wary of allowing a presumption to become your conclusion. “But God raised Him from the dead.” Acts 13:30. No one expected that. But God had the last word; how appropriate for the One who declares, “I am the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” Revelation 22:13 NIV.

My prayer for you today is that you not confuse presumptions with conclusions.

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