Archive | October 2013

From the Pastor’s Pen

Final thoughts on Mark 15:23

Then they gave Him wine mingled with myrrh to drink, but He did not take it.                      NKJV

A great truth is found in the fact that our Savior refused the wine mingled with myrrh. From eternity, God the Son looked at the appointed time when He would descend from the heights of heaven to the utmost depths of human misery. With full faculties, He willingly faced all the agonies which our redemption would require and did not hesitate one iota. He solemnly determined that to offer a sufficient substitutionary sacrifice, He must experience the full experience of suffering for our sins from the throne of highest glory to the cross of deepest woe. This wine mingled with myrrh, with its pain-relieving properties, would have prevented Him from experiencing the limits of human misery, therefore He refused it. He would not stop short of all he had undertaken to suffer for us.

How many of us have pined for relief from our grief which would have been injurious to us? Did you never pray for a discharge from trials or sufferings with a stubborn and willful eagerness? Divine providence has taken from you the desire of your heart with a stroke. If it had been said to you, “If you desire it, that loved one of yours shall live, but God will be dishonored,” could you have put away the temptation, and said, “Your will be done”? Yet how sweet to be able to say, “My Lord, even if I can see no other reasons why I should suffer, yet if I can honor You more by suffering, and if the loss of all my earthly possessions will bring You glory, then let it be so. I will refuse the comfort, if it comes in the way of Your honor.”

O that we thus walked more in the footsteps of our Lord, cheerfully enduring trial for His sake, promptly and willingly putting away the thought of self and comfort when it would interfere with our finishing the work which He has given us to do. Great grace is needed, but great grace is provided.             Charles H. Spurgeon

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From the Pastor’s Pen

Final thoughts on Mark 15:15

So Pilate, wanting to gratify the crowd, released Barabbas to them; and he delivered Jesus, after he had scourged Him, to be crucified.                NKJV

Pontius Pilate knows Jesus is innocent, yet he gives in totally to appease the wishes of the mob.  First he has Jesus scourged (flogged with a whip whose tails are imbedded with bits of metal and rock) and then turns Jesus over to be crucified. Why does he do it? He has to keep Rome happy by maintaining order. To maintain order, he has to keep the crowd happy. So even though Pilate has already pronounced Jesus “not guilty” of any crime and has the final say, he gives in to the pressure put on him by the people who want Jesus crucified.

In Pilate’s mind, his word is law. In the eyes of the crowd, Pilate’s word is law. Jesus, however, knows that Pilate has no power to act, rule, or enforce his verdict apart from God’s granting him that power. Pilate is unable to recognize that the truth that he acts in concert with the mob’s will, Rome’s desire, and God’s eternal plan. Jesus is allowed to be crucified—both by Pilate, to appease the crowd which is being manipulated by the Jewish religious leaders, and also by God, who is using this horrifying event to save lost sinners such as you and me.

If God can bring such a great redemption out of such an unfair injustice, imagine what he can do with our suffering for his sake.               Phil Ware

From the Pastor’s Pen

Final thoughts on Psalm 34:19-22

Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all. He guards all his bones; Not one of them is broken. Evil shall slay the wicked, And those who hate the righteous shall be condemned. The Lord redeems the soul of His servants, And none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned.           NKJV

David summarizes Psalm 34 in a few simple words: The Lord redeems the soul of His servants. As Christians, we face afflictions but we are not undone by them. Even in the direst circumstances, we are comforted by the hope we have in our Lord Jesus Christ. Even if our afflictions end in the death of our physical bodies, the Lord delivers us.

Jesus said in John 5:24, “he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has (present tense) everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. For the Christian there is really no such thing as death, and even that which we call death (the separation of our souls from our bodies) is really only a stepping stone into a better life. Our greatest delivery comes when God takes us out of this world and brings us into His presence in Heaven, where afflictions will be banished forever. 

Understanding this great truth, his helps us to put our priorities in order; our goal in this life is not to heap all of the fame or material gain upon ourselves that we are able to heap in the time we have. Our goal is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ, and to diligently serve Him every day, all the days of our lives.

In contrast, the Psalm 34:21 declares, “Evil shall slay the wicked: and they that hate the righteous shall be desolate.” Whether or not the wicked understand their true state in this life, they will understand it when they stand before God and face the ultimate desolation: an eternity of torment in Hell. The very God they despise is the only One who truly grants them any blessings during their time on this earth.

God has placed upon His children the duty to warn the wicked of their true state, that they may turn to Christ while they can. In doing so, we pray that they will truly understand the final words of Psalm 34. The Lord redeems! Go in that confidence, and by God’s grace, pray that your testimony will be a light in the darkness to the lost who live all around you.     Linda Croft