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Sermon of the Week 
Tuesday, April 13 2021

What a powerful statement the prophet makes in                                                Hosea 2:15 “Our God will transform the Valley of Achor (or trouble) into a door of hope”.

When men try to fix it, by leaving God out, they just mess it up….   On the cover of one edition of Time Magazine, titled “America’s Forever War” it said “One of thousands training for a war that started before he was born”… In October, 1940, Presidential candidate Franklin Roosevelt promised, (quote) “I have said this before, but I shall say it again and again: Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars.” (We know how that turned out) Kennedy promised us Camelot, and proposed an alternative to war, and move away from Eisenhower’s battle centered approach.He chose to negotiate with foreign enemies which made him seem weak especially after the “Bay of Pigs” fluke, while the nightmare of Vietnam was escalating. Then Lyndon Johnson promised,(quote) “We are not about to send American boys nine or ten thousand miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves” (We know how that turned out) This information comes from the book, “No Matter How Thin You Slice It, It’s Still Baloney” Our trust in politicians to keep their campaign promises has been so undermined, that we have a saying, “If their lips are moving, then they are lying”.

It bothers us greatly when someone we love and trust fails to keep  promises that go much deeper than “pinky promises”…. like the one that says. “I promise to love you in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, and to keep myself ever and only for you, till death do us part.” That’s not a “pinky promise”….When those kinds of promises are broken, it leaves a trail of grief and pain.Lives are scarred and generations are affected.                                                                                                             There was one family who were leaving on a long trip and they trusted someone with their rare and valuable family treasures, which that person promised to keep safe for their return. They were stunned and greatly distressed to return and find that they had sold it all and disappeared with the cash. We’re hurt when people fail to keep promises about things that are important to us.

Trust and hope become the casualties of broken promises…and lawyers and psychologists make a fortune … The question is asked, “How many Psychiatrists does it take to change a light bulb? Answer… “Only one, but the bulb must really WANT to change”. How many lawyers does it take to change a light bulb? Answer… “How many can you afford”? Q: How many Christians does it take to change a light bulb? Answer… “We don’t know because they haven’t decided which denomination should be allowed to do it.”

I think it’s amazing that we trust the government to send us a 1,400.00 stimulus check that ended up costing all of us 1.9 trillion dollars, but we have doubts about God who gave His only Son to be rejected, abused, beaten and crucified, to redeem us and set us free! The tragedy is that folks are constantly doubting and sayingno to the promises of God, while they say yes to the multitude ofthings that bring them only heartbreak, destruction, turmoil, pain and suffering.

Healthy Boundaries become the victim when trust is violated. Doubt and unbelief bring confusion into our spirit. Hope and trust are crushed. The first cousin of doubt is logic, Fear is it’s brother, Worry is it’s nephew, and shame is it’s uncle.

Jackie Robinson was the first black person to play major league baseball. Many resented that he was upsetting baseball’s color barrier, he faced jeering crowds in every stadium. Opposing players would stomp on his feet and push and kick him. While playing one day in his home stadium in Brooklyn, he made an error. The fans began to ridicule him and call him every kind of name. He stood at second base, humiliated, while the fans jeered. Then, shortstop Pee Wee Reese came over and stood next to him. He put his arm around Jackie Robinson and faced the crowd with his feet planted. The fans grew quiet. Robinson later said that arm around his shoulder saved his career because he was at the point of quitting. When you constantly criticize others, it’s not just you they don’t like, even worse, they stop liking themselves… and that has    a domino effect.                                                                                                     David said in Psalm 119:90 “Your word Oh Lord, is eternal, Your faithfulness continues through all generations.”

Paul stated in Acts 13:26 “And we preach to you the good news of the promise made to the fathers, that God has fulfilled His promise to us, our children (and their children) in that He raised up Jesus, as it also is written” …                                                                                                              The people of Paul’s day had been let down before, by politicians, by religious leaders, by their friends and the community… but when Jesus appeared following the resurrection… hope, faith and trust were restored and a spiritual healing began to take place and belief was renewed that God would prevail when everything and everyone in life had let them down! Hope was reborn, and if there is hope, anything is possible!

Paul is assuring us that GOD IS SOVEREIGNLY MOVING IN ALL OF HISTORY ACCORDING TO HIS PURPOSE, IN ORDER TO FULFILL HIS PROMISES. 

God set key people in key places at critical times…. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Daniel, the prophets, the patriarchs, Paul, the disciples and on into our very day. It was not so much, their choice of God, but God’s choice of them, that is significant. He chose a rebellious nation to be stewards of His covenant which He passed down to us. Scripture says that “God carried them in His arms and nursed them in the wilderness.” He chose America, with all it’s greed, it’s pride and it’s short comings, to be a leader of nations, because it’s foundation was rooted in the Judeo/ Christian faith.                                                                                                                                     I believe Ezekiel 19:2 was a prophecy that included America “What a lioness was your mother (England) among lions! She crouched in a pride of young lions. Her cubs grew large. She reared one of her cubs to maturity, a robust young lion. He learned to hunt. He preyed upon men. The nations sounded the alarm”. America’s God ordained mission was to share the Christian faith with all who had lost faith, hope and trust in the God of the bible.                                                                                                          He is choosing His instruments to be His voice and His demonstration to each generation….

It’s more than history, it is His Story!

Proverbs 16:33 We make our own decisions, but the LORD alone determines what happens.

Another version says “The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD”.

Still another version says “People cast lots to learn God's will, but the LORD determines every outcome”.

For 450 years God never forgot His promise… For 400 years of Egyptian captivity, for forty years journeying to the promised land, and for ten years conquering enemies in Canaan, He never forgot. And that should remind us that the distance with God is always worth the difference!

It should also remind us that…. 

We need to hold onto the vision and trust the process God is using to bring it to pass….

Habakkuk 2:3 says “For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come to pass, it will not tarry” (it will be right on time).                                                                         When it looks like no way…. You can shout “YES WAY”…. When you ask “Can it ever be”… You can shout “It shall come to pass”…. When Satan whispers it’s not possible… You can shout “All things are possible”….                                                       At a weekly home Bible study, the leader asked an elderly gentleman, to open the meeting with prayer. He was praying in a quite, soft voice. Another man, straining to hear, shouted, “I can’t hear you!” The man praying replied back, “Carl, I wasn’t talking to you.” There are always other voices trying to get our attention, but there is only one voice that truly matters… and that voice is telling us in…

Luke 18:27 “What is impossible with men is possible with God.”  The same power that cancelled the grip of sin in our lives, can also break the patterns which sin has woven into our lives…the old song says “He breaks the power of cancelled sin and sets the captives free!!!

Is it possible that God could ever make a mountain so big that He could not move it? Is it possible that He could ever make a river so wide, He could not cross it? Is it possible that God could ever make a wall so high that He could not get over it or through it?

Having done all to stand, stand therefore and see the glory of the Lord!!!

Excuses are the biggest destroyers of Divine opportunity. Because once commitment is made, the will must be surrendered and it must bow, before any significant life change is ever made. Excuses are always “Me” centered, not God centered, and not what’s best for you!

Excuses are like arm pits, everyone has them and if you’re not careful they really start to stink!                                                                                                                                                 George Washington Carver, said that ninety-nine percent of failure comes from people who make excuses.                                                                         Henry Ford’s motto was….If YOU think you can’t, then you’re right!!

He also said, If YOU think you can, you’re right too!!                                                                                 Walter Wintel said “If you think you’re beaten, you are, If you don’t think you’ll win, then you won’t. If you think that you’ll lose you’ve already lost. For out in the world we soon find, that success will begin in your own state of mind”.                                                                                                   A young man came up to his pastor after the service, and said “Man, this Christian living is really hard!” The Pastor surprised him when he said, “No, son. It’s not hard, it’s impossible.” We cannot do it in our power, but in the strength and power that comes from the Lord, we can and will.                                                                                                                                                                   1 Corinthians 3:7 “So then neither is he that plants is anything, nor he who waters, for it is God that gives the increase”.

So, we cling to every promise, God has given us, because every promise is anointed and embedded with overcoming power that will take us through it, get us over it, around it, under it or cause it like the walls of Jericho to crumble before us!!

Your loved one can be saved. Your trouble can be overcome. Your confusion can be answered. Your heartbreak can be healed. Your mountain can be moved, Your strength can be renewed, Your body can be healed, Your second chance will come, and Your promise from God will be fulfilled…. Don’t you let go…. Hold on… The battle is the Lords!!

Live as if God will do what He has promised!                                                                           Joshua 1:9 He promised to be with you wherever you go…

Psalm 37:4 He promised that though you may stumble, you will not fall,

for He would uphold you with his hand. -

.Proverbs 3:6 He promised to make the crooked way straight before you.

Isaiah 30:21 He promised that Whether you turn to the right or to the left, you would hear his voice saying “This is the way; walk ye in it.” 

Isaiah 58:11 He promised that He would guide you always, and satisfy your needs and strengthen and establish you.                                                                                   Isaiah 54:10 Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed,

yet his faithfulness will not be shaken nor his covenant of peace be removed,”

Listen, they didn’t move the great stone from the entrance of the tomb, but God did. He didn’t just move the stone to let Jesus out, but to allow us to come in and see that death is not the final word.                             He got up to show that Failure is not the final word…                              The impossible situation is not the final word!!

He will not be imprisoned in the grave of the impossible, He got up, so the impossible could now be possible….and the unbelievable could be the new reality….

Joe Louis, one of the best boxer of all time, had a spotless record of 27–0 going into his fight with the German Max Schmeling. It was 1936, when Nazi-ism was at its height, and Germany was the face of evil. So, the fight between the American and the German took place at a sold-out Yankee Stadium.

Everyone expected Louis to win. But twelve rounds into a fifteen-round bout, Schmeling knocked Louis to the mat. Louis remained there—out cold. The hero had fallen. This was not a fight just between two men. It had been a battle between democracy and fascism. Right and wrong. Good versus evil.

And it appeared that evil had won. It was reported that, throughout the country, people cried when they heard the news of Joe Louis’ defeat. All across the country that night when the news came that Joe was knocked out, people wept in despair. But Louis got up, and refused to stay down in defeat!

A second fight was scheduled between Lewis and Schmeling. The location was the same: a sold-out Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. But this time, in just under a minute, Schmeling went down for the third and final time. Louis had won the match with a knockout. Schmeling didn’t know it but before the fight had begun, he had lost to an inspired Lewis whose faith had been restored and hope had been rekindle…. Lewis showed us that you can lose without being a loser and fail without being a failure….

God has scheduled your come back, and this time it’s going to be different… This time the sick are healed, the dead are raised, the lost are found, the provision will come, the finances come through, the barriers come down, victory is snatched from the jaws of defeat!

BECAUSE JESUS GOT UP, YOU ARE ABOUT TO GET UP ALSO!!

The stone was rolled away so all could see that evil had lost and the victory was theirs because Jesus had defeated death, hell and the grave

He got up so we could follow Him into an upper room where the church was endued with a dimension of power that was not of this earth. You shall receive power after the Holy Spirit is come upon you, and you shall be witnesses unto me….

That power was for the work place, for the family room, for the neighborhood and for living an overcoming life everywhere they went.                                                         It’s not how much of the Holy Spirit you have but how much of you the Holy Spirit has!!.....If your Holy Ghost only makes you jump around, shake, feel good, and get goose bumps. That isn’t the Holy Ghost, that’s ADHD! The Holy Ghost of the scripture makes you repent, forgive, let go of your sin, draw closer to God, give your tithe, honor your commitments, and change your life. The Holy Spirit will make you cry out for more!!!

He got up so we could know the same spirit that raised Him from the dead, present and living in us!

He got up so we could be the instruments through which spiritual gifts could be given to our world. 

If following Jesus does not compel me to love God more and lovepeople better, then I am no more than a 21st century Pharisee!                                          If following Jesus is not a constant process of asking myself “What would Jesus do” in every situation, then I am only fooling myself.

Christianity is not about what happens in the church building, it’s about what happens where the rubber meets the road. When we have opposition, where things didn’t go the way we planned, when we just lost a family member, or when we just got our health report….                                                                                    Believe me, it will be worth it all, Jesus said to the disciples what He says to us today… Follow me….There was no turning back…..If you look at the road behind Jesus’ disciples after the resurrection, you will find all kinds of things that were left behind…

— there were fishing nets left behind

— there were boats that were left behind

— there were family members and friends left behind

— there was a family business and occupations left behind

— there was money and worldly opportunity left behind

— there were sins and old life patterns left behind

— there were sinful partners and relationships who had to be left behind

— there was ego and selfishness and self-centeredness left behind

— there were personal ambitions and desires left behind

Paul said, “I count it all as dung, that I may follow Christ!!

If they were going to follow Jesus, there would be no place for these…. What have we left behind for Jesus?

Are there some things we no longer do because we are following Jesus? Are there dreams we no longer pursue because we are now following Jesus? Are there people and activities we can no longerbe involved with because we are following Jesus?

Are there still things which we SHOULD be leaving behind, as wefollow Jesus?

Jesus got up so we could receive His nature and character, which we know as the fruit of the Spirit, which come to grow us up and mature us in the image of Christ. 

He got up so we could raise up many others who would follow Him through our example in word and deed.

He got up so we could one day welcome Him back, as we shed these earthly trappings once and for all and put on glorified, new bodies, in His resurrection likeness.

He got up so we could enjoy the heaven He went to prepare for us, then come back to a new heaven and earth to reign and rule with Him for all the ages of eternity…Whatever you have to leave behind, it will be worth it compared to all that you will gain by following Christ…

I close with the prayer of Paul….Ephesians 3:16 “I pray that according to His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, v17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in His love, v18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, v19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—and be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. v20 Now unto Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, v21 to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen”.                                                                                                                     (One Song says) It will be worth it all when we see Jesus, life’s trials will seem so small when we see Christ. One glimpse of His dear face, all sorrow will erase. So bravely run the race, till we see Christ….

Posted by: AT 05:25 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, April 05 2021

Jesus observed Passover with the disciples on Wednesday, and announced that He was the fulfillment of the Passover. He was crucified on Thursday morning, then taken down from the cross and placed in the tomb on Thursday night before sundown, because it was during preparations for Passover which started at sunset on our Thursday, which is the official Jewish Friday. Jesus was placed in the tomb on Good Friday because the Jewish religious leaders (the Sanhedrin) wanted Him out of the way as the 7 days of Passover were fulfilled….

Isaiah 55:8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. v9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so My ways are higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts”.

Don’t do your stuff, and then ask God to bless it, how about asking Him first, what He will bless, then you’ll know the blessing is assured….

Too often, my ways are not God’s ways, neither are my thoughts His thoughts…But I have come to the conclusion that God takes His job as God, very seriously and so should I…

You see, if I had my way, and I were one of the disciples in Jesusday, I would have been Peter…. Pulling out the sword and saying, “OK, you think you’re so bad, Bring it”…. I would have cut more off than the ear of that servant of the high priest who issued the order to arrest Jesus for trial….                                                                                                                 I mean, this Jesus was a manlike no man I had ever heard of… As Peter, I would have watched His miracles, His incredible feats of walking on water (since Peter was in the water with Him), raising the dead, cleansing lepers, opening blind eyes, raising the dead…. I would have felt that the world couldn’t lose such a man as this in the midst of all the neediness and suffering everywhere I looked.                                                               I would have tried to get a militia together and rescue Jesus, I would have kept Him from the whipping post, the terrible ordeal of carrying the cross up Golgotha’s hill, the cross He would be so cruelly crucified on.                    I would have gotten Him down from that cross, before He uttered those words, to the thief, to John and his mother, to the soldiers, as well as the final words, to everyone, “It is finished”!

I would have robbed the world of Easter In my attempts to keep Jesus from all the suffering which He chose to go through….Iwould have brought temporary relief and created long term loss and chaos…

Yes, in order to save all of these from persecution and hardship, I would have altered the future of all Christianity…..                                                                Of course, if I were God, I would have probably put your nose on top of your head like a snorkel, and webbing in your hands and feet so you could swim better, and some eyes in back of your head to see behind you, and 4 arms to do several things at once….and that’s just to mention a few things…. Man, We would look pretty weird, if I had the chance to be God!                                                                                                          I can’t fathom it, but the breaking and pouring out of passion week was a supreme display of God’s love… We have known love to drive people to do some very powerful and sacrificial things.

As A teenager, Arthur Hinkley, lifted a farm tractor with his bare hands. He wasn’t a weight lifter, he wasn’t that big, but his best friend, eighteen-year-old Lloyd, was pinned under the tractor. Arthur heard Lloyd screaming for help and Arthur somehow lifted the tractor enough for Lloyd to wriggle outfrom underneath. His love for his best friend somehow enabled him to do what would normally be impossible.                                                                                                                There is the story of a priest who offered his life in place of a teenage boy in Nazi Germany. His offer was accepted and the priest took his place and died to save the boy’s life.                                                                                                                                   And I add the story of a young soldier who had been condemned to death by Oliver Cromwell. He was to be shot at the ringing of the curfew bell. His fiancée climbed the bell tower and tied herself to the clapper of the giant bell so that it could not ring. When the bell did not ring, soldiers went to investigate and found the girl battered and bleeding from being bashed against the sides of the bell. Cromwell was so impressed by her love for the young man that he was given a pardon. Greater love has no man, than this, that he would lay down His life for a friend…. 

And believe me, my friend, If I had my way, I would be Captain Grabber! I would always want to grab you out, out of all yourstruggles and stop all your pain. I would have tried to grabJoseph from prison in Egypt, Daniel from the lion’s den in Babylon, Esther from the Persian hit man, Hayman…. and grabbed Paul away from persecuting Christians…. But God had a greater plan, And I would have sacrificed the future of the Jewish nation, and prevented the greatest evangelist from an encounter with Christ that would open the gospel of redemption to the gentile world! I would be out of line. I would be cheating you and cheating the world out of so much good. 

Because God knows where you’re at and He has a plan for your comeback. He wants to display His power when the chips are down and everyone sees you as the underdog…                                                                             Psalm 30:11 “Lord you have turned my mourning into dancing. You have put off my sackcloth and girded me with gladness. You have turned my sorrow into joy. No longer am I sad and filled with regret. You have taken away my disappointment and surrounded me with Your goodness”.

He knows the amazing outcome which will come forth from this hardship. And if I were to be able to spare you from all your difficulties, and hard places, I would leave you weak, and vulnerable and stripped of the personal strength and wisdom those places brought into your life. I would be saving you from your own personal Easter victory and triumph….As you begin to rise above the forces that tried to push you down! 

I heard of a child who was anxiously waiting for eggs to hatch in an incubator, and one day she came home from school and one of the eggs was moving and she heard a tapping on the inside, so in her eagerness she broke the shell to let the chick out, and in doing so, it died. She didn’t realize that the process of pecking it’s way out of the hard shell, increased the blood flow to its whole body…and helped its heart to get stronger…. that the process of pecking its way out of the shell, strengthened its neck muscles and other muscles so it could be healthy.

This is what Job said in Job 23:9 “When He is at work in the north, I cannot behold Him; when He turns to the south, I cannot see Him. 10Yet He knows the way I have taken; when He has tested me, I will come forth (from the test and the trial) as purified gold”.

If you stand at Easter and look back at all the Good Fridays that you have risen above , it declares to everyone that it’s never to late to be what you might have been or all you were meant to be!!

I want the gold without the heat that purifies it and gives it value. The heat that removes the impurities and things that diminish it, and cheapen it. You stand there stronger, wiser and more confident…

Kent Keith, a sophomore struggling in college, wrote the words that are often attributed to Mother Theresa…. “People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered; Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; Be kind anyway. If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;

Succeed anyway. If you are honest and truthful, people may cheat you;

Be honest and truthful anyway. What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; Build it anyway. If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous; Be happy anyway. The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; Do good anyway. Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough; Give the world the best you've got anyway. For, You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God; It was never between you and them anyway.

So instead of trying to save you from it, I’m helping you rise above it, that you might be true to yourself. I’m kneeling before the Father and I’m asking Him to give you strength. To give you hope. I’m asking Him to protect you and to move you when the time is right. I'm asking Him to help you stay prayerful and discerning. I'm asking Him how I can best love you, and be a help to you.  I’m believing He’s going to use your life in powerful and beautiful ways.  Ways that will leave your heart grateful and humbly thankful for this road you’ve been on.” I pray this way because it may be Friday, but I know and believe your personal Easter Sunday is on it’s way…..

Without Good Friday, there would be no Easter and the one thing that stood unshakable between these two was the promise… John 2:19 - 

“Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this (my body) and in three days I will raise it up”. No matter how bad it looks, there’s a promise God has given you…..On Thursday evening and Friday, Things looked bad, really bad, for all those who were there at the beginnings of a great world wide movement, and the leader they gave up everything for !

On Friday The Disciples faith was so weak most of them were afraid to show their faces in public, and Peter even cursed and denied Christ. Well, too often, we too live somewhere between what is said and not meant, and what is meant but not said…..

On Friday morning, Pilate delivered Jesus over to the Romans soldiers, who took turns beating, whipping and scourging him unmercifully. Then, as if that wasn’t enough, they pulled out his beard, and put a crown of thorns on his head and mocked Him by shouting “Here’s the King of the Jews”…..meaning, (who’s gonnasave you now, you foolish people who believed in Him)                                                                                                       On Friday they made Him carry His own cross through the streets of Jerusalem and the people who lined the sides of the road would strike Him, curse Him and spit on Him.                                                                                On Friday they nailed him to the cross like a common Criminal. But it was not nails that held Him there, it was His devotion to the Father and His love for you and me…                                                                                                                                                                On Friday all of this so overwhelmed the Son of God that as the weight of all that was happening weighed downon Him, Jesus cried out “My God my God why have you forsaken me!” (have you ever felt that way?)                                                              On Friday they took Jesus off the cross and laid him in a borrowed tomb and all the Hopes and dreams of his disciples were with him.

And on Friday, the prince of Darkness, threw a party in Hell, and every demon celebrated what had taken millenniums to accomplish. They had finally succeeded in stopping God’s plan for the redemption of mankind. Mankind would now remain in the clutches of evil and the curse, with no way out! But what a difference a few days can make….

David got it….He said, “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me, Your rod of discipline and Your staff of guidance, they comfort me, You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil, my cup runs over” 

That’s another way of saying “It may be Friday, but Sunday’s on it’s way”

Oh Yes, I love the way Isaiah puts it….                                                              Isaiah 61:3 “He has appointed unto (has covenant with) those that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.”. That is your appointment with God in your journey through all that Friday throws at you until the fulfilled promise of Easter Sun.

Well, on Sunday, God’s heavenly reset button was activated, and the devil’s party was rudely interrupted… (Don’t you love it when Big Red’s party of hate, jealousy, greed, power, unforgiveness, sickness, hopelessness and strife are interrupted and shut down!!!)Fist Pump!!!

The pastor’s very sheltered and protected college-age daughter came running to him in tears. “Dad, you gave me some terrible financial advice!” Surprised, he said “I did? Exactly what bad advice was that?”. “You told me to put all my money in that big reputable bank, and now that big bank is in big trouble. "Well, you must be mistaken”, her dad said, “That’s one of the largest and most stable banks in the state.” “Well, I thought so too dad,” she said between tears. “But then they just returned one of my checks with a note that said, ‘Insufficient Funds’.”                                      Well aren’t you glad that the Lord will always have enough Easter to cover all your Fridays, it will always be sufficient and more than enough.Our lack or our insufficiency can never be the measure of His worth!                                              My friends, today, you can beat truth up, you can trample it in the streets, you can try to gag it, humiliate it, deprive it, and bury it, but just when you think truth is defeated, it will rise and expose every lie and deceptionthat comes against it!!!

Paul wrote about this in the second chapter of Philippians when he said…, Philippians 2:9 “And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth.”

On Sunday, when the resurrected Jesus appeared to His Disciples their faith was strengthened and they would never be the same again. On Friday they were afraid of their own shadows, but on Sunday their faith was renewed and reset and they became men and women of faith, trust, and courage.

God has put you, and you alone in charge of painting your reality… There may be a red light at your intersection which requires that you stop for a certain season, or you may be at a yellow light, which is telling you to proceed with caution, but please know, that every red light eventually turns green when you get it right!

It’s been 2000 years and Friday still tries to cast its shadows across the land. Shadows of fear, hopelessness, and defeat. And sometimes it catches us when our guard is down, but even though the battle is still raging ,the victory is won ….Do what you can do, and expect God to do what you CAN’T DO!

John 10:10 tells us “The thief comes only to kill, steal and destroy, but I have come that you might have life and have it more abundantly.”

The shadows of Friday are still evident! Families are being divided, marriages under fire, kids on drugs, divorce is on the horizon, it looks hopeless, how can it ever change, But your personal Easter is coming!                                   Friday casts it’s shadow and Sickness drags on, weary in body and mind, healing is delayed, it’s one thing after the other, most of your phone numbers are some kind of doctor, pharmacy or hospital…. But your personal Easter coming!

Yes, we see can still see Friday’s shadows! Finances are stretched, mortgage is due, grocery prices have gone up, the cupboards are nearly empty, with the virus lurking outside your door, it doesn’t help matters…. But your personal Easter is coming!

The Fridays of our lives are different for everyone….our situations and circumstances are unique so our Friday seasons are unique as well. One size doesn’t fit all….I’m glad the person who named the Walkie Talkie, didn’t name a lot of other things…. Stamps would be “lickysticky”… Defibrillators would be “Hearty Starty”….Bumble Bees would be “Fuzzy buzzies”… Pregnancy tests would be “Maybe Baby”….Forks would be “Stabby Grabby”… Socks would be “Heaty Feety”… Hippoes would be “Floaty bloaties”… and nightmares would be “Screamy Dreamies”…

Here’s what some children wrote about their Friday seasons…Maybe you can relate…. Stephen. Age 8 wrote, “I would like to go to heaven someday because I know my brother won't be there”. Arnold. Age 8 wrote, “I know God loves everybody but He must have never met my sister”. Alexander. Age 10 wrote, “Please say a prayer for our Little League team. We really need God's help or a new pitcher”. Carla. Age 10 wrote, Dear Pastor, I liked your sermon on Sunday. Especially when it was finished”.

Isaiah 43:2 “When you pass through the waters (of adversity), I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not drown you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned and the flames will not consume you”.

We can be confident, because God came up with our solution long before the devil came up with our problem! So, take back your power!!

OK, let’s look at some benefits as we push through our “Friday” experiences toward our Easter Reality… (and there are many more I could list)

Adversity brings us into an intensified learning zone of life..

When wolves show up, sheep get closer to the Shepherd

It reveals the true character of our friends.

It forces us to discover our weaknesses.

It brings humility into our lives with ourselves and others.

It brings appreciation for what we do have.

It reveals immaturity and flaws in our character.

It helps us redefine and reset our goals and dreams.

Good Friday closed with three powerful words of hope and expectation for everyone feeling those Friday shadows being cast upon them… Those words are “ IT IS FINISHED”!!! The Philipino people would *……say “Mabuhay” which means “Life long and live well” or Make your life count!  “Christ died and lived again, so that we can do more than just live and then die!”Because the grave couldn’t hold Him, It won’t be able to hold those who trust in Him….

So If you don’t know how to get to the other side, He does!!!

We live our lives on this side of “It is finished”….which is the pre-curser to Easter victory! It is finished, is just another way of saying “it may be Friday, but Easter Sunday is now our reality”…..and it’s enough!

Charles Wesley wrote, “Oh for a thousand tongues to sing my great Redeemer's praise, the glories of my God and King, the triumphs of his grace! He breaks the power of cancelled sin, He sets the prisoner free;

His blood can make the sinner clean, His blood avails for me.”

Step into Your Easter Reality…..It truly is our bridge over troubled water

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