Scriptures: John 1:1-14
Our God likes to remain invisible. He is with you right now, but you will have a hard time perceiving Him with all five senses. But beyond those senses, there are ways to connect with Him: we need the right devices!
Wherever you are sitting you are surrounded by invisible things. There are radio waves: can you hear the music? There are satellite signs: can you see the show? There are cell phone signals: can you hear the phone conversations? With all five senses we cannot receive any of these signals, to make a connection you need a special device.
The thing about these devices is that they have to be in the right location to make the connection. Radio waves enter through an antenna. Satellites send signals to satellite dishes pointed in the right direction. Cell phones are connected to a cell tower then your call can be made. The cell phone is the perfect example because sometimes it has a crystal clear connection and other times we can barely understand what's being said, finally there are times when there is no connection at all!
So what are the devices we use to connect with our God? The Bible: literally the Word of God, is our antenna that connects us with God's voice. Prayer, singing and worship: these three get us pointed in the right direction. The Holy Spirit: the high presence in our lives connects us directly to Heaven.
Do you want to have a good connection with the invisible God? The Bible is where God reveals Himself: God and His Word are One. When we are disinterested in the Word of God, we have a bad connection. We must remain close to God through prayer and praise. When we lose humility and chose to pray and praise we begin to misunderstand all He has done for us. Worship God through a lifestyle of giving: when we give more time, attention and finance to the world than to the Kingdom it affects our connection. Make church your number one priority: you will lose your connection if you stray away too far. Finally: stay full of grace and truth. " 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. " John 1:14. Let God's light overcome all your darkness.
Scriptures: Luke 24:1-12, Romans 5:8
This world makes promises that often leave us feeling empty, disappointed and discouraged. Jesus uses emptiness to secure our salvation! There are no empty promises with Christ!
Easter is about emptiness that is full of promises: an empty cross, an empty tomb and empty burial cross show us an unstoppable Savior with unstoppable promises.
The empty cross shows us that Jesus did die for our sins, but the cross of death became the cross of promise of hope. The promise that we can be forgiven! Jesus offered His perfect life for our salvation. The blood of Christ announces of us: forgiven, forgiven, forgiven!
The empty tomb: what a promises this offers! Jesus is risen! The empty tomb is God's way saying that He took the sting out of death for us. In Christ the sting of death has no power over you: the grave has no victory over you!
Empty burial clothes shows us that Jesus walked out of the clothes of death. He was alive and burial clothes were unnecessary. The apostles could see him, recognize him, touch him and be close to him again.
Easter is about outlandish promises from an unstoppable Savior. God has made these outlandish promises for us! Do not let the empty promises of this world keep you from the promises of Easter. The empty cross, the empty tomb and empty burial clothes are full of promises. Will you accept and serve this unstoppable God?
Scriptures: Matthew 26:17-25
Have you ever met a person named Judas? Probably not. The name Judas signifies betrayal. Now the name Judas does not carry a positive legacy, but the other eleven disciples did not see Judas that way. When Jesus told them that one of them would betray him, not one of them pointed at Judas.
Judas was seen as just another disciple. He witnessed amazing events, he participated in outreach and he even had special responsibilities with the Bible calling him the keeper of the bag. None of the other disciples had reasons to suspect Judas.
Judas did not stand out as different: we see only one time scripture where Jesus had a problem with Judas. A woman was worshiping Jesus by anointing him with an expensive perfume and the practical side of Judas came out. Jesus corrected Judas saying: "Let her alone, against the day of my burying hath she kept this. For the poor always ye have with you, but me ye have not always," in John 12.
We all have some things in common with Judas. We have fellowship with Jesus. We spread the Word. We all have special responsibilities for the Kingdom. But spiritual privilege does not guarantee salvation! We all have a practical side.
What was it that got Judas in so much trouble? Judas would not let go of the aspects of his life which kept him in the past: Judas would not allow Jesus to become his full security. Judas felt secure being practical and taking care of things for himself. We must recognize that Jesus' ways are not always practical.
Our practical sides can keep us from following Jesus completely. Judas never saw where he belonged: he became tempted to take care of himself. He jumped at the first offer that came his way: 30 pieces of silver sounded good to his practical side. The quickest way to fall to deception is to lose your sense of belonging.
Judas put limitations on the grace of God. Grace does not make sense! Judas got to the point where he felt all he had left was a rope. Jesus' whole life was about restoration and Judas never understood.
The thing you need the most in life is the grace of the God and the thing you need to offer the most to others is the grace of God.
Scriptures: Mark 11:1-10
Palm Sunday is all about a day when Jesus was greatly honored: there was a parade to honor Him as King. The people offered the very best they had: a gift of praise! They spread their coats on the road alongside freshly cut branches giving Him their version of "rolling out the red carpet."
From the youngest to the oldest they offered Jesus a gift of praise. The crowd shouted "Hosanna," which is literally translated to mean "save." Without knowing the details, they were clearly articulating what Jesus came to do and the person they needed most in their lives. He was coming to be their Savior. When a person praises God it opens them up to a realm that supersedes their natural understanding.
Take a moment and imagine: imagine yourself standing next to your street very close to where you live. Now imagine that coming down your street is a crowd of people and in the middle of the crowd is a man walking. You recognize that man as Jesus. People are laying things down on the ground, even rushing to the curb to lay things down too. Jesus approaches where you are standing, as He passes by what will you lay down? As He passes by will you honor him with the gift of praise?
We can all wonder: "does my praise or my gift of worship really matter?" The answer is resoundingly: yes! It takes a lot of coats to make a red carpet. Every person has a specific spot where your gift for God belongs. Your praise could be expressing the very thing you need most in your life: a Savior. If we mix all our praise together we can offer Jesus the very best, will you offer him watered down worship or the very best of what you have to offer?
Scriptures: Romans 14:17, John 15:11
Life is full of surprises and not all are pleasant. Its most likely true that everyone would love to have "true joy." What does true joy mean? Real and lasting joy does not come from us, it comes to us! It comes to us from God: His joy is genuine and He offers it to us through His Holy Spirit. Real joy is not based on circumstances or situations.
So how can we have God's joy come to us? Joy is a work of the Holy Spirit! Where God's kingdom is in full manifestation there will be real joy. If you will allow God to accomplish His will in your life, He will fill you with His joy. When you are instilled with real joy you begin to live a life in the presence of the Lord.
How can we have God's joy with all that goes on in our lives? Joy is the personality of the Holy Spirit! Religion turns serving God into drudgery, a joyless duty and just a ticket out of hell. But joy fills our lives when we receive God's salvation: we find that offering our lives to God is a great blessing and that Heaven is a very real and tangible future home!
God's joy is real and fills our lives as we receive His Holy Spirit. Joy is a work of the Holy Spirit and joy is the personality of the Holy Spirit! Are you ready for the work of the Holy Spirit in your life?
Scriptures: Psalm Chapter 1, Psalm 119:105
What is an unshakeable person? It is not a perfect person or someone without error, instead it is a person who is consistent in character, persistent through trials and always tries to stand up for what is right.
We live in a shaky world: half of the children in the United States grow up in broken homes, while the business world consistently seeks to using growing technology to downsize staff and our political system is centered on division and not the success of our nation. We need to pursue an unshakeable life!
An unshakeable life starts with the right foundation and this foundation must be God! He is unmovable, unchangeable and unaffected! We must determine if our foundation is the Rock or is it the sand? The answer is how you look when the winds and waves of this world hit you: do you stand or do you sink?
An unshakeable life comes from what we use to calm our hearts. God's Word can guide us through the storms of life. We always have two options when the storms blows in: we can worry or we can pray! God's Word and prayer are crucial for a person to have an unshakeable life.
There is an old fairy tale of the three little pigs. All of the pigs dealt with the same trial: the wolf. What made the difference was how their house was built: the straw house went up quick, but it fell fast. The stick house took a little more effort, but it could not handle the first attack. The brick house took a lot of effort and more cost to build, but the wolf had no way in.
Do you want to keep the world out of your life? Build your life on a strong foundation! Remain consistent in character, determine within yourself to always stand for what is right and when the storms come follow the direction given in the Word of God. Remember prayer is crucial to your success: pray without ceasing.