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April 6th: He Endured, Therefore So Can We

The Easter season is a time when we are reminded in vivid, even graphic, detail what Jesus went through for us.

In our everyday lives, it’s natural for us to be focused on our own struggles, challenges, failures and accomplishments. We are at times blinded by our worldly surroundings and put too much importance on the mundane. All the while Jesus went through hell for us, for our salvation; a living sacrifice to pay the ultimate price for our eternity in heaven. He did it without hesitation, without complaint, without protesting.

One of the most relatable human aspects of Jesus is He did ask God to take this cup of suffering, if it be God’s will (He did so in Luke 22:42). This is something we all can connect to and use as a lesson. When He realized this cup of suffering was in fact God’s will, as foretold in Isaiah 53, He didn’t question it. He accepted it. Such unimaginable bravery, considering what was ahead of Him, such immeasurable and boundless love.

This should put our worldly circumstances into perspective. Jesus literally overcame the world. All of it. Suffering, brutal torture and agonizing death. In so doing, saved us all from eternal damnation and empowered us for today. Every one of us.

Here’s the great news – if He fulfilled His assignment (as great as it was) that means so can you. As you read the scriptures below, see the reality of what Jesus endured and think “Am I really going to worry about the stress of my life today and tomorrow?”

Who has believed our message? To whom has the Lord revealed his powerful arm? My servant grew up in the Lord ’s presence like a tender green shoot, like a root in dry ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him. He was despised and rejected— a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care.

Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins!

But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all. He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth.

Unjustly condemned, he was led away. No one cared that he died without descendants, that his life was cut short in midstream. But he was struck down for the rebellion of my people. He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man’s grave. But it was the Lord ’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants. He will enjoy a long life, and the Lord ’s good plan will prosper in his hands.

When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins. I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier, because he exposed himself to death. He was counted among the rebels. He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels.

Isaiah 53:1-12 NLT

written by Jason Davis

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April 5th: Wait, what cross?

That night I was awakened to this truth: Jesus carried His cross and fully expects me to carry mine too.

I was a few months in my newly sold out walk with Christ. Like, over the top, 120% going after God! Of course one of my favorite things was to feed my spirit and listen to teaching of God’s Word. Needless to say, every time the church doors were open – I was there!

The church I was attending at the time was having a special guest speaker on this particular Wednesday night. I was excited because it was not a “typical” preacher, instead he was a business man. A business man from South Florida that drove all the way up to Palm Compton (also known as Palm Coast) to share with our church about God in the workplace.

I was excited! I got to the campus as soon as I could, found myself on the front left row of the sanctuary with notepad in hand. As he took the stage he said it…said something that shook me…

He quoted Jesus, in all 4 Gospels, saying “..pick up your cross and follow me..” Now, I’m sure I heard it said before, I’m sure I heard sermons include these scriptures. I actually even knew “carry your cross” meant “die to my selfish ways”, but this night was different and full of fresh revelation.

This was the night I was awakened to the truth: Jesus carried His cross and fully expects me to carry mine too.

That night I began to see how Jesus carried His cross as a picture, as an example for us to carry our cross. Jesus, in His assignment, did what I could never do by taking away the sins of the world, and in doing so He freed me to carry my cross and fulfill my assignment. Think about this, the cross was the reason Jesus left Heaven, so it represents the assignment Jesus had on the earth. In the same way our cross we are called to carry represents our assignment.

Every one of us have a divine assignment to carry out while we are on this side of eternity! To raise the stakes even more, every one of us have a part to play in healing broken humanity through the good-news of Jesus! What’s your part you may ask? It’s the cross you’ve been purposed to carry, it’s the assignment God has given to you. It is the thing that breaks your heart when you see it. That is your cross you have been assigned to, been purposed to carry.

I will never forget how God used the business man that night to speak with such grace and clarity. In a nutshell his sermon was “..assignments are not just on a platform, or on a social media post…assignments are the crosses you have been called to carry that will impact the very people around you.”

That night I went from “..wait, what cross?” to “Jesus, thank you for your cross & help me see mine.”

Pray this today,

Holy Spirit, show me my assignment, my cross I have been called to carry in this season. My heart is to serve You, Lord.

Let me see my clear next step in carrying my cross.

*written by Trevor Hersey

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April 4th: Lead Me to The Cross

During this time, I focus on His plans not mine.

The days leading up to Resurrection Sunday have been a time of fasting, prayer and reflection for many years now, for me. Even more so than a New Year’s Resolution. Each year around mid-January I meditate on my life’s verses (Jeremiah 29:11 and Genesis 50:20) and ask God to show me how to live it out.

Jeremiah 29:11 NIV “…For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord; “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future…”

During this time, I focus on His plans not mine. I ask God, “What distractions can I remove (or fast) for these 40 days to hear Your voice, Lord?” Throughout the years He has provided the list of things, food, mindsets and or people to put aside for 40 days. That is when our (mine and God’s) relationship goes to the next level. That is when I hear His voice so clearly. Here is where daily commitments turn into renewed habits of daily time with my God, my best friend and the lover of my soul.

Genesis 50:20 NIV “…You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives…”

This verse reminds me to forgive. There is no room to hold grudges, harbor resentment or carry burdens that aren’t mine to bare. I must remember that God’s plans for me impact others in a positive or negative way. I don’t get a choice on the circumstances that develop as I live out my days here, but I do get a choice of how I respond to them. When I start to have a pity party or I think, I have the right to withhold forgiveness from anyone; I remind myself I was once captive too, I was once lost too, and then God pulled me out of that pit and set my feet on His rock solid truth that changed my destination for eternity. Lead me to the cross, Lord and let me respond to anyone who has hurt me, disappointed me or abandoned me with Your famous words on the cross, “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34 NIV

*written by Kelliann Howard

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April 3rd: Increasing Our Chances

He loves every person on earth with that deep, personal love. So, during this sacred season, I want to encourage you to reflect on the depth of God’s loves for you.

I remember when I was in 6th grade I entered a raffle at a local surf shop to win a brand new long board worth over $400. Tickets were $5 a piece and I figured it would boost my chances if I bought a few tickets. I did not have a lot of money but I spent $50…everything I had. If I had more money, I would have spent more money. I really, really wanted that longboard!

      A few weeks go by and my mom answers the phone, and turns out I won the board! What was interesting though is there were 10 entries. Tickets were $5. I spent $50. I was the only person in that raffle. I think it speaks a lot to how we view God and how God views us.

      We all get caught in the trap of “increasing” our chances of earning God’s love. We do well to others, we try stay away from curse words, go to church and hope that we can gain God’s love. It logically makes sense: we give our best and God will love us. We increase our chances, and maybe we’ll win. That might work in a raffle, but not in the heart of God.

Isaiah 49:16 says this: “Indeed, I have inscribed a picture of you on the palm of my hands.”

      God has your face on the palm of His hands. Let that sink in. Psalm 139:17 says that God is thinking of you every single moment! God is obsessed with you. He’s so obsessed that He sent His son to die for you.

      The craziest thing to grasp is how personal His love is for you and me. Just like how I was the only person in the raffle, God loves you like you’re the only one on earth. His love is so great and personal, that He loves each and every person on earth like they were the only ones there.

When Jesus died on the cross, He did not think of the world as a whole. He thought of every single soul He was saving through His suffering. The pictures engraved on the hands of God are not pictures of your family. It’s pictures of you, your spouse, your child, your mother, your father, etc. I really believe He looks at each picture individually, and does not think of who you are associated with. He thinks of you and how much He loves you.

God does not love the groups or organizations you are a part of. He loves you. He loves every person on earth with that deep, personal love. So, during this sacred season, I want to encourage you to reflect on the depth of God’s loves for you. Understand that you were not just included by association. God delights in you. Jesus came to defeat sin, death and shame because He loves YOU.

*written by Chris Alvarez

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April 2nd: More Than A Holiday, A Love Story

We need to remember He’s no longer on the cross or in the tomb!

Annual celebrations can become redundant, ritualistic, emotionless moments that we check off our task list as a completed project rather than its intended reason to remember. We mark things on a calendar because we want to remember. We have national holidays as an opportunity to gather around a day symbolically to remember, to commune, to learn or to simply celebrate.

Let us remember what God did, how Jesus hung there for us, was bruised, beaten and humiliated for our sins as He hung there sinless and blameless as we approach Resurrection Sunday.

We also need to remember He’s no longer on the cross or in the tomb! Praise the Lord! He has RISEN! He is ALIVE! He is preparing a place for you in eternity until His triumphant return. The last supper was intended to help His disciples, the ones that followed Him then and the ones that follow Him now, remember:

  • to serve John 13:1 the washing of their feet was an expression of “eis telos” Greek word for love without limits
  • to be an example of our faith in action and in attitude John 13:2-10 the whole foot washing experience was symbolic of the spiritual cleansing and serving one another regardless of, title or position. Christ having the highest position possible put into action how to act as well as the attitude of humility
  • to fulfill prophecy from previous scripture known as the new commandment John 13:34-35 God had prepared for this moment from before the fall of Adam and Eve. God never gave up on His beloved creation, that’s you and that’s me.
  • to be aware of satan’s influence while we are here waiting, serving and believing; remember there are still ones that will reject, betray, lie, steal and harden their hearts to Jesus. John 13: 27
  • to remember we have a purpose and God’s plan is the same yesterday, today and forever. Though the commandment to love is not new the Hebrew word here is “kainen” meaning to be fresh, vibrantly new. The call hasn’t changed on our lives but sometimes we need fresh eyes to see it. John 13:34-35

All of this to say that the greatest love story ever written is you. You were created by the uncreated one that created everything. But you, sweet one, were created to be loved by Him.

34 So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. 35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:34-35

written by: Kelliann Howard

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April 1st: Your Greatest Comeback

New life, restoration, renewed hope, and new beginnings is ours. This is the Resurrection season!

Jesus’ Resurrection gives us the power to have our own death to life experience and this season is the perfect time to remind ourselves of this truth.  No matter how far we’ve strayed, how dry, burned out, exhausted, stressed and depressed we are.  We have this hope as the anchor for our souls (Heb. 6:19).  New life, restoration, renewed hope, and new beginnings is ours.

In Ezekiel 37:1-14, we read that the Spirit of the Lord took Ezekiel to a valley of dry bones.  These dry bones represented the people of Israel’s spiritual death.  These bones said to be old, completely dried out and all hope gone from them.  To my interpretation these people had nothing left to give.  They were done and all hope that they once had had ran out.  Have you been there?  Of course, you have, we all have been there or maybe we are there at this very moment.  God saw these people that had built themselves a grave.  He saw their hurt and distress; and spoke to them.  “Dry bones, listen to the Word of the Lord! I am going to put breath into you and make you live again!” Eke. 37:4. God doesn’t leave you the same as you once were.  These bones were not only now covered with new flesh and muscle, but God called forth winds to breathe new life into these dead bodies so that they may live again.

A great army arose, stood up on their very own feet, and came to life once again.  This concluded with God releasing this army from their graves of exile and returning them home.  He returned and activated them on assignment.

I hear of the sound of rushing wind searching to and fro looking for people who need this living breath to help them arise and feel alive again.  God is calling you out of that grave that you have either buried yourself or the enemy has suffocated you into.  Arise, child of God.  Return and activate on your assignment from the living God.  He sees you, He is calling you and He is speaking to you.

Your comeback is coming with a roar.  When Jesus took His last breath on the cross the earth shook, and tombs were opened.  The dead were raised to life even then.  And again, when He was raised to life on the third day, there was a great earthquake.  Child of God, the enemy is going to know that you have won this battle.  That you are alive and living well in Jesus Christ!  Make a loud roar for no grave can hold you down nor hold you back.

Dear Heavenly Father, I open my ears for you to speak to me.  I pray that you will breathe your living breath on the inside of me so that I may feel alive again.  Restore me, renew me, and use me.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

written by: Megan Cochran

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Sacred Season – Coming April 1st

Hello & welcome to the Sacred Season of 2019!

This year we want to prepare for you a series of devotions designed to engage you in an ongoing attitude of prayer & reflection leading up to Resurrection Sunday!

Devo’s will be release starting on Monday April 1st

Our hope is that you will it just enjoy the thoughts given, but will be encouraged to know more!  God bless & let’s celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord!