“What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer.” This hymn by Joseph M. Scriven, is one of my absolute favorites. And it’s perfect when celebrating the great gift of salvation we receive from accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord, Savior, and Friend. In Proverbs 17:17 Solomon says, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born at a difficult times.” Who doesn’t want a friend like that; one who loves you at all times? Not just through the good ones, but especially through the bad. Jesus is that friend. He accepts, shelters, loves, and died for us. Fully knowing the betrayal, brutality, and rejection He would face, Jesus willingly left His glorious throne in heaven. He came to ransom His life to bring us forgiveness and reconciliation with the Father. What a friend we have in Jesus indeed!
Easter is a blessed holiday for Christians. But it’s but also a time when the interest to know Jesus is peaked for nonbelievers as well. That’s why it’s so important to pray for our loved ones. Pray that they will experience, “godly sorrow.” Godly sorrow results from a heart filled with conviction that the sins we’ve committed hurt God. Such a burning conviction produces in our hearts a godly sorrow. And as we look upon Christ who died for our sins, we are deeply grieved in spirit. Even though this can be painful, this is what we need to pray for the lost. A transformation of both their hearts and minds. Because we know that it is all for God’s loving blessings, and more importantly, eternal life!
What an amazing display of love that God chose to become human and live as one of us. Jesus was fully God and fully human all at the same time. He didn’t empty himself of any of his attributes of deity, but He did humbly take on the role of a servant who came to serve.
By taking on human flesh, Christ could empathize with all of the experiences of being human and yet do so without sinning. He knew hunger and also the satisfaction of being fed. The Lord felt warmth, cold, pleasure, and pain. He experienced friendship and rejection. Jesus was loved and admired, yet persecuted and brutally slain. And He faced firsthand temptation. Which is why He is our perfect High Priest.
When Jesus came to Earth, He could have come in a great display of powerful Lordship. Or chosen to be born into wealth, prestige, and honor. But instead His goal was to come as the most humble servant. To be the sacrificial Lamb who would reconcile a sin stained humanity back to a righteous, holy God.
How blessed we are to have the teaching and acts of Jesus accessible through the Bible. For the Lord showed us what God the Father is like. And what it truly means to have the heart of a devoted servant. Jesus emptied himself by becoming deity clothed in humanity. And no greater act of love exists.
Maverick City Music Makes History As First Christian Performer At Grammy Award Show In 20 Years
Maverick City Music made history Sunday night by winning its first Grammy and also becoming the first Christian or Gospel group in 20 years to perform live on the broadcast. The group won a Grammy for Best Contemporary Christian Music Album for Old Church Basement, a live LP recorded with Elevation Worship. The group also received nominations for Best Gospel Performance/Song (Wait on You), Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song (Jireh) and Best Gospel Album (Jubilee: Juneteenth Edition). The group tweeted after the win, “THANK YOU JESUS!” the group’s Twitter account said after the Grammy win. “Everything we do belongs to God! We’re so honored to be a part of what He is doing in the Kingdom!” Read more about the group here.
Franklin Graham Writes Putin And Zelenskyy Requesting Cease Fire During Holy Week
The Rev. Franklin Graham said he wrote to Russian President Vladimir V. Putin and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to ask for a cease-fire in the war in observance of Holy Week in the Western and Eastern Christian churches, which together span from April 10 to April 24. Graham visited Ukraine this week to see the work that his humanitarian relief organization, Samaritan’s Purse, is doing to aid refugees and other victims of the war. He said he was not confident he’d get a response from Putin but said he viewed the message as necessary. “If they can stop fighting for a week or 10 days, maybe they can stop fighting for two weeks,” said Graham. “If they stop for two weeks maybe they can stop for a month. If they stop for a month, maybe they can stop for good. You’ve got to start somewhere.” Read more about his request here.
NYC Mayor Fires Christian Education Advisor Over her Views On Gender And Sexuality
New York City Mayor Eric Adams has fired an education advisor from the city’s Panel for Education Policy after the New York Daily News reported on some of her past writings on gender and sexuality. The Rev. Kathlyn Barrett-Layne, who leads Staten Island’s Reach Out and Touch Ministries, was initially one of nine appointees to NYC’s Panel for Education Policy (PEP), which replaced the Board of Education in 2002 and is part of overseeing the city’s public schools. Within hours of Adams’ public announcement of the appointment, Barrett-Layne was reportedly asked to resign, due to an article published citing Barrett-Layne’s 2013 book, Challenging Your Disappointments, as evidence for her “anti-gay” agenda. In the book, Barrett-Layne listed homosexuality among other sins, including “fornication, adultery, pedophilia, stealing, lying, envy, and covetousness.” Read more about her firing here.
Metal Detector Discovers Ring belonging To The Sheriff Of Nottingham
A gold signet ring linked to the Sheriff of Nottingham has made £8,500 at auction. Found in a Nottinghamshire field by a metal detectorist, its history may however have more to do with lost Civil War loot than Robin Hood. The ring bears the coat of arms of the Jenison family, one of whom was Sheriff in the 1680s, but later died in prison. Rumors the family made its money from valuables unclaimed after the war were boosted by a silver hoard found nearby. Once it was verified as authentic, it was sent back to the finder, who is now set to make a good amount from his incredible discovery. The find has been described as one the ‘legendary outlaw Robin Hood would have loved’ by auctioneers ahead of its sale. Read more about the discovery here.
The hands that had created the world in which the disciples walked was washing away the filth on their feet. And only hours before Jesus would be arrested, beaten and crucified for each of them and us. Why did Jesus feel the need to do such a thing?
Because the Lord knew one pair of feet at the table would abandon and betray Him that very night. And the others would all flee as quickly as they could the moment Jesus is arrested. All except one pair who would deny knowing Him three times before the rooster would crow.
“Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” (John 13:12-17)
Jesus was still about His Father’s business. Even knowing that His work on earth was about to end and He would soon be taken off the earth. The washing the disciples’ feet was a symbolic act of cleansing and purifying, so that their spiritual walk following Him would be holy and spotless. And the neat thing is, He still does this today with each one who gives their heart to Him! Jesus still lovingly washes away our dust and grime with living water, then uses His own covering to refresh, restore, and make us fit for His kingdom work.
All Jesus did and endured was because of His great love for us. And when approached by a Pharisee who asked what was the greatest commandment of all, the Lord’s answer? Love. Love for God, and each other. Love is so vital, Jesus adds, upon this is the foundation of the Law and the Prophets. But loving as Jesus loves can only happen if our love for Him, is greater than our love for ourselves. And the proof of this is in the way we treat others. For as the apostle John points out, to say that we love God and yet not love others, makes us liars. (1 John 4:20) So hearts that put Christ first, no longer demonstrate a self centered, sinful love, but the completely selfless and sacrificial love of Jesus.
That kind of love may seem impossible. But the closer we get to Christ, and the more we experience His unconditional love, an amazing thing happens. Our heart begins to change. Once hardened, selfish, and worldly, through the work of the Spirit, it becomes softened, open, and overflowing with gratitude. Gratitude for all that God has done for us. And from that thankfulness, springs forth the ability to see, and more importantly, love others as Jesus does.
Our goal as Christians, is to become transformed into the image of Christ. To mirror His unconditional love, loving one another just as He has loved us. (John 15:12) 1 John 4:9-11 powerfully reminds us, “God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love another.” This is the message echoed throughout the Bible and especially in the teachings of Jesus. And to me, it is the greatest love story of all!
Because we are Christians, we are not citizens of this earth, but rather just passing though. Our allegiance is to heaven and our King, Jesus Christ. But until our Savior calls us home, we are to conduct ourselves according to the teachings and commands of our Lord. Jesus directs us to act in both word and deed as the heavenly citizens we are. By forgoing worldly living, we can keep our eyes on the prize. The day Jesus returns. On that magnificent day, our Messiah comes to take us the the place He personally prepared for each of us. Where there we will dwell by His side forever with new glorified bodies. Bodies that will feel no pain, sadness, disease, sickness, or sin. And all we will know is everlasting joy and peace!
Did you know Peter is often called the apostle of hope? Even as he watched his beloved Master, Friend, and Teacher, hang upon a Cross, he didn’t despair. Because through the blood of Jesus, Peter knew that now everyone who received Christ as their Savior can experience hope. And not just a wishful hope. But a living, confident, expectation through the resurrection of Jesus. Because of His great mercy, God doesn’t want us to remain dead in our sins. And so He offers us a grace we don’t deserve, and can never earn. A grace through His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. And because of Christ’s great sacrifice, we now can be born again. Our heavenly Father chooses, sanctifies, and gives us great purpose. And our lips should offer continue praise and blessings to Him for all He is, and does!
As we welcome the new month, and the Easter season, I can think of no better time to celebrate Jesus Christ! Our Lord and Savior who came to die so that we can live. Once we were dead in our sins and eternally separated from God. But our Father in heaven, in His great love, wanted to be reconciled to His children. And so He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to become our perfect sin sacrifice. Jesus willingly and joyfully came to be beaten, tortured, rejected, and nailed to a Cross. All to pay our sin debt in full and bring us back into fellowship with God. And through His loving sacrifice, we now can look forward to life eternal spent at His side. So with hearts overflowing with thankfulness, how can not celebrate with great joy!