Resurrection Egg #6: By His Stripes

Resurrection Egg #6: By His Stripes

Resurrection Egg #6

MrssizzleWhen my boys were little they had prized stuff animals that they liked to play with. Unfortunately we had a puppy who viewed these animals  not as toys for the boys but prey to be devoured. Many a loved animal fell prey and lost an eye or had an ear chewed. Sometimes they could be repaired, though never fully regaining they former glory. Other times, they were destined to exist with the missing, ear or eye. Anyone who has had a puppy can relate. But we are not stuff animals and when we are hurt we need more than a needle and thread.

Jehovah Rapha: The God who Heals

Like many of you I have often asked “Why aren’t some people healed?” As a nurse, I probably ask this more than most. As a mom who has had a miscarriage, I definitely cried out, “Why!, If you are truly God you could have prevented this!” The Bible states that Jesus was moved with compassion and healed the sick (Matthew 14:14). So I know that Jesus has a heart and feels our pain. One of the names for God is Jehovah Rapha, the God who heals. It is used 67 times in Old Testament. Healing is part of God’s nature, not just something He does. The prophet Isaiah states that the Messiah, Jesus,  “will open the eyes of the blind and the unstop the ears of the deaf. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert.” (Isaiah 35:5-6)

By His Stripes We are Healed

He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”(1 Peter 2:24, NIV)

Both Isaiah and 1 Peter use word for healing that mean to make whole, to mend. The word in the Isaiah passage denotes a cobbler stitching to make something whole. Thank God, Jesus sews better than I do. Unlike, my boys’ stuff animals, when He heals He heals completely. He is concerned about healing of heart, mind, and body. Healing and sin are closely tied together. When sin entered the world so did sickness and death. Not all illness is a result of sin. However, we do know that sin can lead to illness. For example, sexual sins have consequences of transmitted diseases. Anger and bitterness are related to stomach ulcers, arthritis, irritable bowels. Stress is related to migraines. Cancers have been associated with alcohol and other unhealthy lifestyles. The list goes on and on. Doctors and nurses both have completed studies that show how the healing the physical body, and the mental and emotional health are closely related. Many times outcomes depend not so much on the right medicine as much as the right attitude of the heart.

On the flip side, many sickness are not related to sin at all. In the Old Testament, there are only 12 reports of individual illness and healing, 8 of them are not the result of sin. Both of the boys raised from the dead by Elijah and Elisha did not die as a result of sin. When Jesus healed the blind man, His disciples asked, “Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”. Jesus responded with, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” (John 9:2-3). This disconnect from sin and sickness may explain why diseases attack children and infants that we know have not sinned or led a lifestyle that results with illness. This is one of my biggest struggles, infants and children who are ill. Sometimes, I just have to remind myself of the sovereignty of God.

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5, NIV)

Transgressions are willful sin. This is sin that is committed with full knowledge that it is wrong. It has the connotation violating a law. Iniquities are sin, guilt, depravity that we were born with. It is man’s bent toward perversion and sin or deviation from the right path. It is our sinful character rather than the action of sin itself.

Jesus healed stripesThe blood Jesus shed seems to have opened the spiritual door to not only forgiveness of sins, but also healing. Jesus reminds us that sickness is a result of the fallen state of man. Jesus himself mentions that He will be flogged as part of the crucifixion and forgiveness of sins. (Matthew 20:19, Mark 10:3, Luke 18:33, John 19:1).

The word, ‘Rapha’, is used 67 times in the Old Testament. In the New Testament, the Greek word for physical healing is “therapeuo”. It is translated ‘heal’ 44 times.  That number does not include references for words such as ‘healing’, ‘healed’, ‘make whole’, etc. Obviously, healing is important to God. Matthew 4:23″Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.” In conjunction with teaching and preaching, Jesus healed as part of His ministry. Healing flowed out of Him because it is part of His nature.

 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. “ (Luke 4:18-19)

 

“Beloved, I pray that in every way you may succeed and prosper and be in good health [physically], just as [I know] your soul prospers [spiritually].” ( 3 John 1: 2, Amplified)

 

 

 

 

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Resurrection Eggs for Adults #2- Covenant

Resurrection Eggs for Adults #2- Covenant

Resurrection Egg # 2

We live in a world of contracts. Contracts are easily broken, amended, or rewritten to suit our fancy. God, however, is a God of covenants, not contracts. Covenants are binding. Covenants typically involve three things: The shedding of blood, an exchange of items between the parties, sometimes a change of name which signified a change in the relationship.The first thing God did after Adam and Eve sinned and by eating the fruit was to make a covenant or promise that He would bring a savior:

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3:15, KJV)

The word ‘bruise’ denotes a crushing or completely overwhelming. Jesus would completely crush Satan, Praise God. Bruising of Jesus’ heel is a foreshadowing of Jesus bleeding from His feet when nailed to the cross. There was blood shed and items exchanged. God killed the animals and clothed Adam and Eve. Also names were changed, Adam named the woman God had given him, Eve after Fall (Genesis 3:20). There are other covenants between God and man in the Old Testament, the covenant with Noah, Abraham and Moses. Overall, the Bible describes two main covenants, the Old Covenant, which was based on Moses’ laws and the New Covenant, which is based on Jesus Christ.

The Old Covenant

tabernacle Legos
Ok, this pic is for all you moms of boys! Don’t you just love it! Holy of Holies replica from Legos! Too cool.

Under the old covenant the priest went once a year into the Holy of Holies portion of the tabernacle and sprinkled blood on the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant. The priest did this once a year for atonement of sin. The blood came from a lamb that was spotless, and it was sprinkled seven times. It was a foreshadowing of the sacrifice of Jesus, who was spotless and bled in seven places for our redemption during the Passover week. The blood cover our sins but it did not pierce our hearts.

The New Covenant    

sacrificial_lamb-300x199

 

God wanted to establish a covenant that would be written on our hearts. It would be everlasting, forgive sins and would establish Him as our God and us as His people (Jeremiah 31:30-33) It would be a cleansing  from the inside out, not the outside in. It would cause change at the very core of our being. This would be a covenant that God would establish. It would be instigated by Him. We could not establish the covenant because of the sin. We could not approach God to establish a covenant. It would be a covenant for both Jews and Gentiles. Jesus would once and for all enter the Holy of Holies as the high priest did in the Old Covenant. However, it would not be with blood of goats or lambs, but His own blood. Christ became the negotiator and mediator of the this entirely new covenant agreement.

He went once for all into the Holy of Holies, not by virtue of the blood of goats and claves (by which to make reconciliation between God and Mn), but His own blood having found and secure a complete redemption ( an everlasting release for us).” ( Hebrews 9:12, Amplified)
How to Access this Covenant

There is only one way. We cannot save ourselves, we are not without blemish. We cannot ‘do good works’ in order to put ourselves in right standing with God. We cannot earn God’s approval and love by doing good, being good, and working hard. The only way to bridge the gap and access a covenant relationship with God is through Jesus Christ. Many times we look for the perfect husband, perfect boyfriend, perfect family, perfect parents, perfect kids, perfect job to define who we are and bring our salvation and peace. The only PERFECT savior is Jesus Christ.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9, NIV)

Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God“- Ephesians 5:2 (NIV)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[fn] The old has gone, the new is here!All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:17-19,NIV)

In due season…..Easter

In due season…..Easter

Easter images

Resurrection Eggs for Adults

I love Easter. To me it is the first hint of spring. Of new life, of a new promise. To me, Easter is not a celebration of bunnies and chocolate, but the celebration of the  resurrection of Jesus Christ. Knowing the end of the story it is easy to celebrate. Jesus is risen and the tomb is empty, our sins have been forgiven. Amen!  It is easy to forget the sacrifice that Jesus made, the shedding of His own blood for our sins. My husband reminded me that sacrifices in the Bible were pretty gruesome stuff. The Romans perfected crucifixion to be excruciatingly painful. In fact the word “excruciating” was a word originally used to describe the pain of crucifixion. I have been a Christian for long time, but studying the cross and Jesus’ sacrifice for us, opened my eyes again to the mercy and love God has for us. So I thought I would share some of what God has shown me about the cross. I am not a theologian, just a mother of three with a love for Jesus and His word. I am calling these thoughts:

resurrection eggs numbered

Resurrection Eggs for Adults.

(Resurrection eggs are plastic eggs filled with a symbol of the Passion Week. Each day your child can open them and read a scripture and learn about events leading up to the Resurrection of Christ).

My prayer is that you enjoy these posts, but mostly you will grow in deeper understanding of Jesus for the blood of Jesus is one of spiritual weapons along with the name of Jesus, and the Word of God. It is our firm foundation that everything else rests.

Resurrection Egg #1 (1)

When we think of the cross, what do we think about? Blood, cross, Jesus, sins, love??? Probably all of the above and more. The cross is pivotal in many ways. Historically it divided time, BC and AD. Spiritually it unites us with God. Ultimately it is a picture of unconditional love. To understand the cross, you need to understand Covenant and the importance of the blood.

“For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that make an atonement for the soul” Leviticus 17:11.

Life is in blood. In our bodies the blood supplies nutrients, removes impurities. It cleanses. The sin that came with Adam is passed down with the blood. God had given Adam a choice and he chose to give it to Satan Genesis 3:15 but God said that He would send someone to bruise his heel or to bruise his authority. Jesus is that sacrifice. He took the authority so we could have victory not just in heaven but here on earth. He overcame the devil (Revelations 12:11).

 “We have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”– Ephesians 1:17

 “We are redeemed with the precious blood of Christ.”–1 Peter 1:19

Dressed for Battle…. Now what?

Dressed for Battle…. Now what?

“…..with all prayer and supplication praying at all seasons in the Spirit, and watching thereunto in all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.” Ephesians 6:18

Ever hear of the term ‘marching orders’. I grew up in a military town. As a child I would hear my friends talk about their dads or brothers, ‘receiving their orders’. In the military, you are trained and equipped for battle. When that battle occurs, you don’t know. But you are to be ready in season and out. Many times those orders occurred in the middle of the night or on the weekend, or a holiday. Battles are not convenient. Battles are messy. Battles are ugly. Battles are dirty. The battle that God equips us for is a battle for the life and heart of people. It means answering the phone call at 2 am from the woman that gets on your nerves, but who is struggling in her marriage.  It means rearranging your schedule to hold the hand of a sick friend in the hospital as she receives the results of tests that could change her life. It means looking at sin in all its ugliness when every part of you wants to look away.

What are our marching orders? What are we called to do?

What?  “pray and supplication…

Prayer and supplications are requests made to God from deep inside our hearts and soul.  From a childlike confidence, we know that regardless of what we see or people tell us, God can accomplish the impossible.

Are you praying for what looks like the impossible in your self? Your family? Your fellow Christians at church?

When?In all seasons…”

I noticed right away that God didn’t say, “later this afternoon if you get a minute or if you think about it, can you pray for so and so.” No! this is a fixed and definite period of time, a season. There is a reason God has called you to be a such a place and time. He sees the whole battlefield. We are to act Now!

Are you praying now for yourself? Your family? Your fellow Christians at church? Or are you putting off until tomorrow?

How?….in the Spirit, and watching thereunto in all perseverance…”

First we are to pray in the Spirit. The Holy Spirit  gives us the words to pray, and reminds of the Word of God that is sharper than a two edged sword. Remember, the Holy Spirit wields the sword to make our aim true.

Are you yielding to the Holy Spirit regarding your self? Your family? Your fellow Christians in your church?

Second, we are to be watching. Watching means to be on the alert. Ever hear soldiers talk of ‘taking the first watch’. The one on watch stays awake when others sleep. They are alert to the slightest movement, sound, smell, anything that is a change. While others sleep, they are vigilant.

Are you being vigilant regarding yourself? Your family? Your fellow Christians in your church?

Third, we are to be on alert with perseverance. The word for perseverance, ” proskarterēsis“, is a noun. This is the only time this word is used in scripture. The dictionary defines perseverance as “steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, or state; especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles or discouragement.” It implies an unyielding holding on in following a course of action.

It has been said that endurance and perseverance combine to win in the end.When a battle is raging on, the soldier who has perseverance is what you want. By his very nature, he remains steady despite what he sees or has to overcome. He is the one who sees the mountain not as an obstacle, but as an opportunity for God to overcome and be glorified. The one with perseverance is still putting one foot in front of the other while knee deep in mud while the storm is raging. Remember battle is messy.

Are you persevering with areas of your self? Your family? Your fellow Christians at your church?

By putting on the Armor of God, we have the equipment needed to win the battle. Now we need to embrace the heart or quality of perseverance to stay the course with our fellow believers. We are called to come alongside with prayer and support, holding fast not to what the world says, but what the Word of God says.

photo from www.freepik.com
photo from http://www.freepik.com

 

 

Gazebo Gallery:

Describe your Battle Won!

Stand therefore…

Stand therefore…

Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;” Ephesians 6:14

Ever watch a tennis match? My son plays tennis. We enrolled both our boys in tennis lessons when they were little tikes and could barely hold a racket. Every coach they ever had talks about the importance of the stance. What is the stance? It is how you hold the racket and how you stand when you are waiting for the ball. The player stands with feet apart, both hands on the racquet (so can hit forehand or backhand as needed), and eyes on the opponent. In other words, your head is in the game. Why is this important? Because the milliseconds it takes for you to get into position to hit the ball square with the racquet could mean you slicing the ball, missing the ball completely, or even being hit by the ball. Ouch!!

Just like a tennis match, we are to ‘stand’. The word stand, ‘histemi‘, is a verb meaning to stand ready or prepared, stand with a steadfast mind, stand as one who does not hesitate, stand as one who does not waiver.

What does your stance look like?

Are you girded about with the truth of God’s word? Do you have on the breastplate of righteousness? To a soldier, a breastplate protects your vital organs, the heart and lungs and major arteries. Without the breastplate a blow can be fatal.

Righteousness means to be in right standing with God. It is the state in which we ought to be. It involves integrity, purity of life, virtue, correctness of thinking, feeling and acting. Notice how much of this definition involves the heart.

For our sake He made Christ [virtually] to be sin Who knew no sin, so that in and through Him we might become [endued with, viewed as being in, and examples of] the righteousness of God [what we ought to be, approved and acceptable and in right relationship with Him, by His goodness]”. 2 Corinthians 5:21

Gazebo Gallery
Gazebo Gallery

Gazebo Gallery:

What does your breastplate look like? Is it the breastplate of righteousness?

(photo selected: by FreePik/Dan Mirica <a href=”http://www.freepik.com”>Selected by freepik</a>)