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With this Word for Wednesday, I”m starting a new series about what we need to know about the End-times to be in the center of God’s will.

When writing my most recent book, Prepare for the Harvest! Confidence in God’s End-Time Promises, I found there are two dominant positions concerning the end-times. One is based on sound eschatology. The other is based on exitology. Those in the eschatology camp are, for the most part, optimistic concerning the events of our day and the days to come. Those in the exitology camp are burdened with current events and seek to be separatists, protecting themselves and families from impeding doom.

I was in elementary school when I quipped, “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.” Not an original thought, but profound for a child of my age. However, what is first needed is to properly identify the problem–emphasis on the word properly. Jesus was very clear when He provided instruction about the end-times, that he did not want His followers to be unaware. Learning of the many people today who are ignorant of the end-times, and the ill-preparedness of the Church at large, motivates me to address the topic wherever possible. Where do you stand? Do you have a confident and hope-filled faith in God’s plan for you and the future? Or, have you been influenced by dooms-day-sayers who promote fear concerning the last-days?

Many Pastors teach world events will continue to get worse, and promote the idea of simply waiting to be rescued. The doctrine of a pre-tribulation rapture, where the Church, (meaning all followers of Jesus Christ) will be supernaturally removed from the earth and spared the terrible tragedies of the end-times, is actually one of the newer positions. Bill Johnson Senior Pastor at Bethel Church, Redding, CA states it this way, “We have a bad habit of taking most of the good promises of the Bible and sweeping them under the mysterious rug called “the millennium.” It is inconsistency to say the last days began with Pentecost in Acts 2, and say that the wonderful promises of the prophets about the last days refer to the millennium. The error is clearly realized in the fact that what is believed actually requires little or no faith to get what most of the Church is waiting for–the world to get worse and the Church to get rescued. This is an irresponsible way to respond to great promise.”1  I couldn’t agree more.

Have we entered the last days? Technically the last days began with the first Pentecost. Pentecost places focus on the power of the Holy Spirit and the tremendous promises followers of Christ can live in today. However, because of faulty doctrine, we don’t see many Christians living in the power and promises of God that are for today. June 9, 2019 is our next upcoming day of Pentecost–and one I believe that has significant meaning in these last days. Because of the universal truth that we all experience life based on our beliefs, I will explore the promises of God for us in these last days, so we can be part of the solution and not the problem.

We can escape the Tribulation by not by being separatists, will be the focus of my next post.

As always, I welcome your comments in the section below.

  1. Bill Johnson, A Life of Miracles: A 365-day guide to prayer and miracles. (Treasure House, an imprint of Destiny Image, 2008),  Day 360.

To get a free download preview of my newest book, Prepare for the Harvest! Confidence in God’s End-Time Promises visit: https://pamelachristianministries.com/store. Click on the EBook/PDF Department, find the title, then select which preview version you’d like to have.

If your Church or group would like to have Pam come present on this or many of her other significant topics for the Church today, simply use our CONTACT form.

The post End-Time Belief Influences our Life Today appeared first on Pamela Christian Ministries LLC.

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What do Babyboomers and Millennials/Gen Z have in common? Self-employment. As Babyboomers age and leave traditional employment, they are starting their own businesses to augment their income. Millennials/Gen Z are starting their own businesses attracted by career control, work/life balance and personal satisfaction.

Research conducted by FreshBooks in conjunction with Research Now, published its second annual Self-Employment Report, revealed forty-two percent of the 27 million people who will become independent workers within the next two years will be millennials.1 Additionally AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) citing the same research stated nearly sixty percent of those surveyed between the ages of 50 and 65 said being self-employed makes them want to keep working longer and push back the retirement years.2 Headlines for a June 2018 Forbes article read, Permalancing is the New Self-Employment Trend You’ll Be Seeing Everywhere explaining how the Millennials are the driving force for this shift away from traditional employment.3

Reading these articles delighted me as I have been an entrepreneur since childhood, selling homemade items door to door, and I finally convinced my husband to become self employed after nearly 20 years seeing him have horrible experiences through traditional employment. Today we both own our own LLC’s and are thriving. However, it wasn’t always this way.

In 1991 when the economy was in seriously bad shape, my husband lost his job through no fault of his own. At the same time, I had sold my property management company to a man who turned out to be a crook. He only paid the down payment and one month on the four year note we paid attorneys big bucks to draft. This double hit left us in an extremely vulnerable situation which ultimately meant we lost everything except our furniture, one car, and our clothing. We quickly learned unemployment is no respecter of persons. Regardless of your education, high earnings, or over-the-top resume, unemployment can happen to you. If you’ve had the slightest interest in self-employment, based on our experience we state the best time to begin testing the “waters of self-employment” is while you have gainful income and the economy is strong.

When the stock market crash of 2008 occurred, I knew there would be many people who would suffer what my husband and I did in the early 90’s. For this reason I developed an intensive course and workbook “What You Don’t Know About Under and Unemployment, Practically, Mentally, Emotionally, and Spiritually.” I’ve had six-figure senior  executives listen to my story in complete stillness, because they know they are living pay-check to pay-check, with the fear they will crash financially. You can read testimonies about my seminar on this page.

Is self-employment right for you? There are many variables and requirements you should know about as you consider the question. In the next few blog installments, I’ll provide you with insights and helps to help you in this potential new world of self-employment. Subscribe for alerts so you won’t miss the future installments.

In the meantime, feel free to download my complimentary Transferable Skills Evaluator to learn what skill-sets you already have that could be beneficial as a self-employed professional.

1. https://www.brit.co/millennials-self-employment-trend/

2. https://www.aarp.org/work/small-business/info-2018/self-employed-numbers-fd.html

3. https://www.forbes.com/sites/briannawiest/2018/06/13/permalancing-is-the-new-self-employment-trend-youll-be-seeing-everywhere/#3925f809a383

The post Is Self-Employment Right for You? appeared first on Pamela Christian Ministries LLC.

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Recently, I was truly struggling with many life issues that had emotionally injured me. Other people had hurt me, leaving me with a seriously extended period of woundedness. I wanted to put it behind me and move on. I had forgiven the people who hurt me. Some I still have relationship with, others I don’t. There was no bitterness or resentment, just deep-seated wounds. In my prayer time I expressed to God I just need a separation from the past and a new start from this point on. “You know God, the same way we choose a date for our computers to establish a system restore date.”

As soon as I phrased what I needed, I sensed God assuring me it can be done. So I asked God, what date do you want me to go back to. It seemed clear it should be 2012. I considered what I was doing that year and the years leading up to 2019. I also realized 2012 is seven years ago. Biblically speaking, 7 years represents a complete cycle. So, it seemed God was connecting me to my recent past with a cycle completed, and making it clear I was at the start of an entirely new cycle. This idea was entirely refreshing and renewed my hope and outlook for my future.  I was reminded of Isaiah 43:18-19 which in the NIV states: Forget the former things. Do not dwell in the past. See, I am doing a new thing. Now it springs up. Do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert, and streams in the wasteland.”

What about you, do you need a system restore? Would you like to reset your life to a new cycle? Pray to the Lord now and expect Him to guide you into what is right for you. God doesn’t want any of us weighed down. He wants us unencumbered especially from harmful conditions so we can be free to move in the fullness of life and joy He died to provide us.

Please share what you gain from seeking the Lord for a life reset in the comment box below so we can rejoice with you and collectively praise God for His unfathomable goodness.

One of Pam’s messages is entitled “A New Beginning” based on Isaiah 43:18-19. If your group could use the encouragement and direction Pam offers, consider booking her to speak. Learn more about this message as well as others she’s developed here.

The post Word for Wednesday – Need a Life Reset? appeared first on Pamela Christian Ministries LLC.

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Note: If you missed Part I of this article, please read to have the foundation for today’s message.

Fear over imagined potential problems or difficulties will often give rise to anxiety, worry, and dread. In the previous post, we considered the practical responses a person can take to get the upper hand on fear and its expressions.  Fear can be real or imagined, and this post will explain how the imagined kind is a spiritual problem.

First. we must acknowledge human beings are made in three-parts: body, soul, and spirit. Simply addressing a matter practically, does not necessarily address the entirety of the issue.

Most agree our bodies are temporal, whereas our soul and spirit are eternal. Additionally, most agree our body is subject to our soul (mind, will, intellect, unique personality) and our soul is subject to our spirit. Another way of saying this is the mind controls the body, but the spirit controls body and soul. Our thoughts have tremendous impact on our physical reality. Additionally, our physical actions have tremendous impact on our internal chemical realities. A perfect example of this proven by science, is the study of endorphins. When we physically laugh, endorphins are released making a chemical change in the brain, resulting in a “feel-good” experience. All of our physical actions result in some form of chemical change—some feel good and some, such as fear, do not.

This means anything we experience in our body, soul, or spirit is entirely integrated, and all parts are impacted. God created us this way. The secular world however, excludes the God and spiritual components and relies upon a mind-over-matter reality, which only provides limited results. Unless we address the spiritual component, any improvement accomplished through the mind is incomplete. We must acknowledge the existence of the spirit world and attain sufficient knowledge about it, or by default we will be subject to it and very potentially led in a way we don’t truly want.

Clearly both good and evil co-exist which gives us compelling reason to explore the origin of these opposing forces. Of all the major world religions, Christianity provides the best explanation for the origin and ultimate outcome for good and evil. The Bible, which is the supreme document of authority for the Christian faith, explains everything good comes from God who is holy and is love. Everything evil comes from the enemy of God named Satan, who is the father of all evil and instigator of all fear. Once we understand anxiety, worry, and dread are fear-based, and that all fear comes from the father of evil, we then have the ability to address the origin of the problem.

The Bible explains how we are all naturally born with evil eternal spirits. This is not how God created us. Rather, it was a free-will choice of the first man and woman resulting in an inherited condition upon all humanity. God’s love for us is so great, that He devised a plan for us to be restored and our natural-born evil spirit, replaced with a supernaturally re-born pure and godly spirit. To attain  this spiritual transformation we must place our faith in Jesus who made our spiritual redemption possible.* Once we have a transformed spirit, we then must retrain our brain to understand the realities of the spiritual world. The Bible states, “Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you]. (Romans 12:2 AMPC).

Our regenerated spirit makes it possible for us to communicate with God. As we learn how we can live our life as a believer in Jesus Christ, our minds are transformed more in keeping with our new spirit, and our bodies are favorably altered as a result. Unless we address the spirit, mind, body connection we will not have hope for any real physical improvements. If you suffer from anxiety, worry or dread, and you now understand these conditions, which can be utterly debilitating, are from the enemy of God whose only purpose is to destroy you, you now have a new pathway for victory. Your path for victory begins with faith in Jesus and continues as you cooperate with the Holy Spirit of God to be entirely transformed.

You can choose to place your faith in Jesus right now, by simply believing with your mind and receiving in your heart that Jesus was and is the Savior of the World, from God, who took upon Himself all the sin of the world to give you a way of escape from evil and an eternal hell. In your own words, speak aloud declaring you willingly give yourself to God wanting to be transformed and placed in a restored relationship with God the Father, through faith in Jesus the Son, by the power of the Holy Spirit, Amen. If you made this declaration for the first time, or are making it with a genuine sincerity of heart, you are guaranteed by God that you are reborn!

This is just the beginning of and the most important step in a tremendous transformation. If you need help with your next step in this process of becoming a Christian, contact me using the Contact Us form which sends me a private email.

I pray my ministry work which is given for the benefit of others, truly benefits you. I’d love to hear from you about my blog posts. Please use the comments section below to provide your input on this post.

Disclaimer:
I began my study on anxiety, out of a deeply held compassion for my loved ones. I wanted to better understand their reality so I could best respond when they experience fear in my presence. I hope to have learned helpful information to post here  for them and others to find solutions. I am not a doctor of any kind. Anything written on my blog is strictly opinion and not professional advice of any kind. Readers are expected to do their own due diligence with the hopes that what I write encourages them to do so.

Anxiety, worry and dread,  for many people are matters that can be managed and controlled with proper education and practical applications. For others, professional help is needed. If anyone cannot manage the matters on their own, professional help is highly recommended.

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I have very close friends and relatives who battle with anxiety, worry and dread. Each of these people are well educated and wonderfully intelligent. They know the basis of what they experience is fear. Intellectually, they know the fear is likely to be perceived fear, in contrast to genuine fear. However, for all of us, perception determines what we conclude to be reality, and we mentally and emotionally react accordingly.

The perceived or imagined kind of fear has spiritual roots. Fear (manifest through anxiety, worry and dread), PTSD, depression, suicidal thoughts, bi-polar conditions, and not having peace and joy, are mental and physical conditions  the cause of which are caused by spiritual issues.

As is the case for many problems in life, we have both short-term aids and long-term cures available to us. Learning to apply short-term aid, while working towards long-term cure is how to overcome anxiety and all fear-based conditions for good. As explored with Part I of this post, our spiritual condition is the  determinant of our potential physical existence. Our thoughts dictate our actions and behavior. It is the plan of God for humanity to overcome all the ravages of sin, which includes sickness and disease by first placing our faith in Christ to transform our spirit, then to actively cooperate with the Holy Spirit of God to transform our minds–the thoughts we maintain and believe as truth.

In my opinion, mere medical and psychological science is limited to managing disease only. However, with the foundation of faith in Jesus, and unwavering confidence in God’s promises, often along with medical/psychological science, we all have the ability to discover cures. If you would like to read testimony from myself and others that support my opinion, to increase your knowledge and hope, please contact me.

Faith is essential for anyone to experience the glorious promises of God. However, the rampantly popular understanding of faith in our culture is woefully inaccurate. Many believe faith is a matter of claiming what one wants to believe, without any necessary connection to reality. This is a twisted definition devised by the enemy of God who intentionally seeks to deceive us and prevent us from accessing the promises and power of God. Understanding true faith that leads to a personal relationship with the One True God (who actually exists and is not a mental/emotional crutch as many claim) places us in position to receive God’s promises and the manifestation of His power.

Our existence on earth includes both material and spiritual realities. There are practical steps people can take that will produce physical benefits, even apart from faith in God. Such steps are simply utilizing the natural laws ordained by God. Some practical steps for short-term or immediate assistance in dealing with fear in any of it’s expressions include:

  1. Intentional Advance Preparation: If you’re anxious about something that’s going to happen soon, like a test, travel trip or interview, do your homework, ensure you’ve reviewed everything pertinent to the test, travel or interview, and make yourself as smart as possible on the subject at hand.
  2. Heed Advance Symptoms: When you begin to experience the onset of anxiety, worry, dread or any fear-based response, stop. Make sure you are comfortable, without any physical distractions, and take ten slow and deep breaths with your entire focus on your breathing. Breaths should feel like your filing your lungs up to the very maximum–slowly inhaling then very slowly exhaling. Repeat as needed.
  3. Adjust Your Physical Tension: Intentionally tighten and then completely relax muscle groups from your toes to your head. Scrunch your toes tightly and hold, then relax. Flex your ankles completely, hold then relax. Tighten your calves, hold then relax. Continue up your body concentrating on these exercises to the top of your head. Tighten your scalp by raising eyebrows, furrowing brows, flexing your ears, and such. Repeat back down your body to your toes if needed.
  4. Intentionally Replace Unrelenting Thoughts: Since anxiety and related fear-based conditions are  mental problems, you have control over whether or not to allow the condition(s) to occupy any space in your mind Fearful thoughts are based on deception. Have ready in advance, specific truths you can repeatedly confess, either aloud or mentally, until you drown out and replace the fearful thoughts. It’s important this step is taken early in the onset of symptoms else the fears increase making logical applications useless. It’s a natural law, no two things can occupy the same space at the same time. Replacing fearful thoughts with truth truly works. If your fear is of getting lost for example, you can claim, “I have a map, a cell phone, and immediate ability to get help. Therefore I cannot get lost.” Knowing specific Bible verses that address common or anticipated fears, is an excellent way to replace mental anguish with truth.
  5. Create and Interruption as a Diversion: Change your immediate surroundings and/or activity. Go for a walk, run in place, turn on the television, pack your mouth with gum and vigorously chew, pick up the Bible to read and meditate on God’s promises for you. I don’t advise getting behind the wheel of a car or any other activity that could put you or others in danger should your symptoms not respond.

These are just some ways to help you get through the physical realities of fear and its many expressions. Research in advance what appeals to you the most, that you think you can utilize at any given moment to get relief.

In the next edition of this post topic, I will further explore the spiritual component that is needed to go beyond treating the symptoms and engaging a cure.

Disclaimer:
I began my study on anxiety, out of a deeply held compassion for my loved ones. I wanted to better understand their reality so I could best respond when they experience fear in my presence. I hope to have learned helpful information to post here  for them and others to find solutions. I am not a doctor of any kind. Anything written on my blog is strictly opinion and not professional advice of any kind. Readers are expected to do their own due diligence with the hopes that what I write encourages them to do so.

Anxiety, worry and dread,  for many people are matters that can be managed and controlled with proper education and practical applications. For others, professional help is needed. If anyone cannot manage the matters on their own, professional help is highly recommended.

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The Advent of Easter, Part XXIV by Pamela Christian—Copyright © 2019

Note: Sequence of events are imagined as extracted from the four Gospel accounts of Jesus’ resurrection.

The day after the Sabbath, before dawn on the first day of the week (Sunday), Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome, brought spices to prepare Jesus’ body for burial. As they approached the tomb, they discussed who would help them roll away the entry stone. No doubt, they also wondered if the guards would even allow them to have the stone moved since Pilate had ordered the tomb be secured.

Suddenly, there was a great earthquake for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, rolled back the stone, opening the tomb entrance, and sat upon the stone. In extreme fear the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See I have told you.”

Peering inside, the women saw the body of Jesus was missing, and a young man sitting on the right side where Jesus’ head would have been and another seated where His feet would have been, both dressed in a dazzling attire. The women were greatly alarmed. The men said to the women, “Why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking? Mary Magdalene replied, “They have taken away my Lord and I do not know where they have laid Him.” As she turned, she saw a man she thought was the gardener and said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” The man replied stating her name, “Mary” and in that instant she recognized the man was Jesus.

Finally realizing Jesus had indeed risen and was no longer dead, she gathered here senses and ran with the other women in fear and great joy, to tell Jesus’ disciples what they’d experienced. On the way Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And the women came up, taking hold of His feet, worshiping Him. Jesus instructed, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and to your Father, to my God and your God.”

While the women were on their way to inform the disciples, some of the guards went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place. When the elders were assembled, they conspired to have the guards tell the people Jesus’ disciples stole the body in the night while the guards were sleeping. The elders assured the guards they would protect them from the Roman governor’s wrath, and the guards were bribed with a sum of money. We need to understand for the guards to state they were sleeping while on duty would elicit their death sentence. Yet this story became wide-spread among those who did not believe Jesus was bodily resurrected. The theory of the stolen body remains a popular argument for the empty tomb to this day.

When the women arrived to tell the disciples everything, the disciples listened but concluded the women must be delusional in their grief. However, apostle Peter who had denied Jesus, and apostle John, identified as the one closest to Jesus, both ran to the tomb. Peter arrived first and remained outside the tomb, only stooping to peer inside. When John arrived, he immediately went inside and saw Jesus’ body was gone. When Peter followed John inside, they noted the linen cloths lying in one place, with the face cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, folded up in a place by itself. At this they both believed Jesus had indeed risen from the dead. They then returned to their homes is awestruck wonderment.

From this day Jesus appeared to many people at various times, before He fully ascended. The gospels of Luke and John, both record many other instances where Jesus appeared after His resurrection. And 1 Corinthians 15:6 records Jesus’ appearance to over 500 men and women. Jesus provided different instruction and interaction at His various appearances. At one point He reminded the disciples to faithfully await the coming of the Holy Spirit—the Comforter Jesus promised would arrive when He was gone. The Holy Spirit arrived on the day of Pentecost, exactly fifty days after the start of Passover, as recorded in the book of Acts.

We need to better understand the tremendous significance of the Old Testament holidays and celebrations ordained by God and their foreshadow of the many realities about Jesus—the Promised Redeemer.

God first delivered the Israelites from the oppression of slavery and established the Day of Passover—the day death passed over the Israelites, who obeyed by placing the blood of the Passover Lamb to be eaten that night, over the doorposts of their home. This symbolizes how we who place our faith in Jesus, the sacrificial Lamb of God, have the penalty of sin, which is death, pass over us.

The ceremony of First Fruits, also known as the Sheaf Offering. Or Waving of the Omar) was originally an expression of gratitude to God for providing the early harvest, was a foreshadow of Jesus the first-fruit or first-born of many who would be restored to relationship with God through faith in Jesus.

The seven-day celebration of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, not only commemorates the Israelites quick departure from Egypt, but points to Jesus, who is the Bread of Life.

Exactly fifty-days or seven weeks after Passover God ordained Pentecost—which is the second or late celebration of the harvest known as Shavout—to foreshadow the harvest of people who would come to faith in Jesus. Acts chapter two tells of the amazing events in the first Pentecost following Jesus’ Ascension bringing thousands of people to faith and relationship with God.

The evidence of God lovingly interacting in the lives of humanity, is beyond overwhelming. It is my hope and prayer that you are among those who decipher the evidence properly, to come to an intimate and abiding relationship with God, through faith in Jesus, the Christ—the One whom we celebrate at Easter because He is Alive!

May this song bring it all home for you: He’s Alive!

For April 21-22, 2019 read and meditate on the following Scriptures:
Matthew 28:1-20; Mark 16:1-20; Luke 24:1-53, John 20:1-21:25 and; Acts 2.

For additional study:

https://answersingenesis.org/jesus-christ/resurrection/the-sequence-of-christs-post-resurrection-appearances/

https://www.ucg.org/the-good-news/the-wave-sheaf-how-an-ancient-ceremony-foreshadowed-jesus-role

https://www.ucg.org/the-good-news/the-wave-sheaf-offering-a-ceremony-foreshadowing-salvation

https://www.hebrew4christians.com/Holidays/Spring_Holidays/Unleavened_Bread/Anavah/anavah.html

http://www.eaec.org/newsletters/2012/vol-15-3/the-passover-week.htm

http://ad2004.com/prophecytruths/Articles/OriginalPassover.pdf

https://www.cog-pkg.org/publications/PassOverChart2.pdf

https://www.gotquestions.org/temple-veil-torn.html

http://www.bible.ca/archeology/bible-archeology-exodus-route-travel-times-distances-days.htm

The Advent of Easter, has been a project of the ministry of Pamela Christian. If you have been blessed please consider contacting her and letting her know. The greatest joy for Pamela is to minister through speaking and writing, through all forms of media, helping others to discover the same life-giving truth she’s been blessed to find. More at www.PamelaChristianMinistries.com Use the Contact Us form.

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The Advent of Easter, Part XXIII by Pamela Christian—Copyright © 2019

This post represents the events leading up to and just after Jesus’ battered and lifeless body was laid in the tomb—the three nights and three days His body was entombed with Roman guards outside.

Joseph, a rich man from Arimathea, and a member of the Jewish Council, went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Joseph’s request was predicated on Deuteronomy 21:22-23 where bodies of hanged criminals were not to defile the land by remaining on a tree overnight. Pilate was surprised that Jesus had already died, as crucifixion was typically a longer death process, usually requiring the breaking of the victim’s legs to prevent them from using their legs to raise their body up to better breathe. The fact not a single bone of Jesus was broken, fulfills prophesy (Psalm 34:20, Exodus 12:46, and Numbers 9:12).

Joseph, along with Nicodemus, were disciples in secret for both men feared the reprisal of their fellow Council Members. Nicodemus, also wealthy, brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight for perfuming the body as a show of respect and honor. The quantity was truly befitting for interning a king. Taking the body of Jesus, they wrapped it in a clean linen shroud according to the customs of the Jews. However, because of the impending Sabbaths, they cut short their treatment of the body and laid Jesus’ body in Joseph’s own new nearby tomb. The tomb had been cut out of a rock. Joseph rolled a great stone over the entrance to the tomb and the men left, while Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, solemnly observed. Jesus being laid in this particular tomb fulfilled the prophesy of Isaiah 53:9.

Because the body was inadequately prepared for burial, the women planned to return to properly treat the body, following the Sabbaths. Because of the Sabbaths, according to their own laws, the women were caused to wait, which no doubt added to their grief.

Upon the next day, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered before Pilate stating, “Sir, we remember how that imposter said wile he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise.’ Therefore, order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last fraud will be worse than the first.” Pilate allowed them to make the tomb as secure as possible by sealing the stone at the entry, and stationing Roman guards outside for the next days and nights.

What do you suppose was the conversation of Jesus’ disciples? What about the twelve whom Jesus had personally chosen to be His apostles? While they were commemorating the first Passover where God had delivered their ancestors from the oppressive Egyptian slavery, they suffered this great loss of the very One they believed would deliver them. They had all seen Jesus do miraculous works. They had all heard His teaching and recognized Him as an amazing scholar of the Scriptures without being one of the educated religious leaders of the day. They had all believed Jesus to be their political deliverer. Yet, Jesus didn’t try in the least to resist arrest or defend Himself during the illegal trial. Why did He risk arrest and more during His years in ministry, so often, angering the religious leaders and the Roman officials, only to willingly succumb? They surely doubted Jesus’ claims about Himself. I wonder if they even doubted the claims about the original Passover—about God Himself? Imagine the supreme perplexity they suffered, while mourning the loss of a man they loved—of the One they believed was given by God to secure their political freedom.

Consider sitting around the table during the Feast of Unleavened Bread—the Passover celebration which is to continue for seven days. As they ate the bread and drank the wine they must have pondered what Jesus meant the night before when He instructed them to eat the bread as His body, and drink the wine as His blood, in remembrance of Him. Didn’t He also say about this meal “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God”? And when He took the wine He said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves. For I tell you from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” What did He mean when He spoke of the new covenant in His blood? And what about His words, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise”? Who was this he—this third person He spoke about? Was He speaking of himself?

Surely, their thoughts were all consuming and overwhelming. Everything at this point seems completely lost—all hope they’d enjoyed is shattered and gone.

For April 19-20, 2019 read and meditate on the following Scriptures:
Exodus 12:46; Numbers 9:12; Deuteronomy 21:22-23; 2 Chronicles 16:14; Isaiah 53:9; Psalms 34:20; Matthew 27:57-66; Mark 9:31; Mark 15:42-47; Luke 22:14-22; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:38-42

Note: All the books in the award-winning Faith to Live By series are written to help people discover and live in life-giving truth. Visit the Author Page to learn more about the different books. When you purchase any of my products, you are helping support the ministry and spread the gospel of Jesus.

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The cathedral’s 295-foot spire collapsed as smoke and flames engulfed the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris on Monday. Credit Geoffroy Van Der Hasselt/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

This week’s devastating fire and considerable damage to the Cathedral of Notre Dame occurring during Passion Week when Christians of all denominations observe the resurrection of Jesus Christ, is astounding. First, the Cathedral has stood through the bubonic plague that killed between 25-60% of Europeans. It survived the Hundred Years’ War It withstood the French Revolution, when radicals of the time also influenced by the 18th Century Period of Enlightenment, sought to turn the Cathedral into something of a secular church of reason. In the last century, Notre Dame withstood two world wars.

Second, the response to the Cathedral’s destruction seems to be revealing an undeniable truth. Recognizing the many crisis through which the Cathedral has stood, John Kass, Reporter for the Chicago Tribune wrote, “And for all that, President Macron’s defiant vow to rebuild is inspiring indeed. It required courage. Especially given the climate of the modern day. According to a Pew Research Center survey published in 2018, Western Europe has become one of the world’s most secular regions.”

Mary Poplin, author of Is Reality Secular? (InterVarsity Press 2014) wrote, “If reality is secular, that means something for how we orient our lives. But if not, that would mean something quite different.”

My heart has ached for people of France especially, having learned of the great rejection of the Christian faith. However, human reason will never replace reality, no matter how much effort is applied. If simply claiming a matter to be true, made it so, I assure you I would be younger, weigh less, and have no cellulite.

This is my Word for Wednesday. Your reaction?

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The Advent of Easter, Part XXII by Pamela Christian—Copyright © 2019

The first Passover prescribed by God was exceedingly different from the Passover the day of Jesus’ death. Yet, God provided the first Passover as a foreshadow of the ultimate release from the bondage of sin He planned for His people through His Son–that is through God Himself in the Second Person of the Trinity.

The first Passover, marked the deliverance of God’s people from the Egyptian enslavement. God instructed the sacrificial lamb to be slain after sundown on Nissan 14. (The month of Nissan is also referred to as the month of Abib). The blood of this lamb was smeared on the door posts of the homes of those who worshiped God, allowing the last plague God ordered for Pharaoh, death of the first-born male, to bypass the Israelite’s home.

The lamb that was slain was to be eaten that night along with bread made without any leaven. Leaven in the Bible represents sin. The family inside the homes were to eat the lamb in haste, ready to travel. While they ate, they no doubt heard the travails of families as the death angel took the life of the first-born male for all households without the blood of the lamb on their doorposts.

The next day for the ancient Israelites, the 15th of Nissan, marked their day of plundering the Egyptians as they gathered their belongings in preparation for their departure. Moses was their deliverer, showing the way out of Egypt, by following God’s leading in the pillar of smoke.

Contrast this to the day of Passover as observed by Jesus disciples. They had eaten their Passover meal in commemoration of the original Passover. They must have been reflecting on the faithfulness of God to deliver His people. Their anticipated evening of worship and reflection was interrupted by tremendous commotion in and around the city as Jesus was arrested, tried and sentenced to death. After seeing Him die on the cross the day before, now on the 15th of Nissan, they are to observe the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. For the disciples and many of the women who followed Jesus, this day had to have been especially somber with no desire to celebrate. They were likely together, mourning Jesus’ death, trying to make sense of all they observed and had participated in during the previous three years.

The day before while they wanted to honor Jesus with a proper burial, the impending sabbaths prevented them. The 15th was the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The 16th was the Day of Preparation for the weekly sabbath, followed by the sabbath itself on the 17th. Imagine how they felt—entirely perplexed at the events they’ve just witnessed and utterly alienated from a providing proper burial for Jesus. To keep their religious laws, they would have to wait three long days before they could approach His body, to honor Him with the burial customs of their day.

Assuming many were gathered in groups in some effort of consolation, what do you supposed they talked about? I imagine, the men operating between total silence alternated with snapping at any comment a person dared to make. I can visualize the women quietly talking under their breath to one another concerned for the decomposition of the body and the stench, the same way they were concerned for Lazarus. They had to be immobile with astonishment that Jesus who had demonstrated tremendous leadership, who seemed to be their long-awaited hope, was reduced to the grave in a matter of hours.

Chris Christian, Gloria and Bill Gaither provide image to the scene with the following lyrics:

They all walked away, nothing to say

They’d just lost their dearest friend

All that He said, now He was dead

So this was the way it would end

The dreams they had dreamed were not what they’d seemed

Now that He was dead and gone

The garden, the jail, the hammer, the nail

How could [the] night[s] be so long?*

No doubt these days and nights they must wait before experiencing any sense of closure were exceedingly agonizing. Yet, the God they serve would not leave them without understanding, or without hope.

In this Advent of Lent, as we ponder the actual events of Passion Week, let us put ourselves in the place of the disciples, who had heard all Jesus proclaimed, but were faced with what seemed like complete opposition. They had to dig deep to connect with what they confidently knew, in order to make sense out of what they didn’t yet understand.

Considering the realities for Jesus’ disciples after His death, will be the focus of the next post.

* “Then Came the Morning” by Songwriters, Chris Christian, Gloria Gaither, and William Gaither, with noted adjustment to reflect the three nights they would have to wait.

For April 17-18, 2019 read and meditate on the following Scriptures:
Deuteronomy 16:1-8; Matthew 27:32-61; Mark 15:21-47; Luke 23:26-56; John 19.

Scroll down below to access earlier posts in this series. To view the entire list of planned devotions, see the Introduction.

For author bio and schedule of posts for The Advent of Easter click here.

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The Advent of Easter, Part XXI by Pamela Christian—Copyright © 2019

After Jesus’ Last Supper, Jesus retreats with His disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. He desires the company of His disciples while He prays—the same as our asking others to be in agreement with us in our prayers. Praying into the late hours of the night, Jesus realized his disciples were not able to remain awake, leaving Him to suffer all that was before Him, on his own.

Soon a crowd arrived, along with the Religious Leaders, and Judas Iscariot. Violence ensued. And Jesus said to them, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I was with you at the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. But let the Scriptures be fulfilled.” (Mark 14:48-49 ESV) Jesus is led away, as a captive, and taken to Caiaphas head of the Jewish Council. The people made false testimony against Jesus and accused Him of blasphemy, seeking to have Him put to death.

In the morning, around 6:00 AM, Jesus was taken before Pilate the governor for the Roman government. With tremendous mob mentality insisting on Jesus’ death, Pilate tried to appeal to their senses. Pilate noting no clear violation of law, yet hearing the crowd yell, “Crucify him!” asks, “Why what evil has he done?” But the crowd shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified!” Amidst the threat of a riot, Pilate learning Jesus as a Galilean was under Herod Antipas’ jurisdiction, he sends Jesus to Herod.

Scriptures reveal both Pilate and Herod found Jesus innocent of breaking Roman law. Pilate sought to release Jesus, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar,” (John 19:12). The Jewish leaders stated, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God,” (John 19:7). In response Pilate took water and washed his hands before the crowd saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.” At this point it is mid-morning when Jesus was sentenced to be crucified.

The inhumane treatment imposed upon Him—the tortuous beatings and more were precursors to His actual death by crucifixion. Soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on Jesus’ head. They also placed on Him a purple robe to mock the claim that He was King of the Jews. They spat on Him, struck Him with their fists, plucked out his beard all before He was nailed to the cross. On the cross Pilate had an inscription written in
Aramaic, Latin, and Greek, placed which read, “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.” The Jewish Chief Priests objected to this, but Pilate did not yield.

We learn there was darkness over the land from the sixth hour until the ninth hour, which is noon to about 3:00 PM. Around this time Jesus is heard saying aloud in anguish, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46), these being some of the most profound words in the entire Bible. In some sense, Jesus had to be cut off from the favor and fellowship wit the Father that had been His eternally, because He was bearing the sins of the people, and therefore enduring God’s wrath. This was not a cry of His own personal bewilderment, for He knew the reason of His crucifixion No, it was with a loud voice for the bystanders. By stating “My God” he expressed unwavering faith, and by revealing He was being forsaken proclaimed His work utterly for the salvation of others.

And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, stating “It is finished!” He gave up His spirit. At that moment, according to Matthew 27:50-51a, the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The tearing of the veil at the moment of Jesus’ death dramatically symbolized that His sacrifice, the shedding of His own blood, was a sufficient atonement for sins. It signified the way into the Holy of Holies was now open for all people, for all time, both Jew and Gentile.

Jesus’ sacrificial death created a way for spiritual death to pass over all who will believe in and receive Him as their personal Savior.

The Feast of Unleavened Bread and the days of Jesus body in the tomb will be the focus of the next post.

For April 15-16, 2019 read and meditate on the following Scriptures:
Isaiah 50:6 and 52:14; Matthew 27; Mark 13, and 14:32-15:47; Luke 22:47 and 23;1-56; John 14-19:42.

Note:  All four gospels record intense instructions given by our Lord in his final numbered hours. He taught with greater intensity, providing instructions for the ever-present current times, and about the end-times. We would benefit more to ingest His instructions with the same intensity with which He taught.

Additional Resources:

http://ad2004.com/prophecytruths/Articles/OriginalPassover.pdf

http://www.eaec.org/bibleanswers/The_Passover_Week.pdf

Note: Hosting this blog site and the other ministry work I do have expenses that must be covered. If this work is blessing you, please show your support through prayer, sharing with others, and financially. Donate HERE. If I can be of further help to you through prayer or answering questions, please email me at info@PamelaChristianMinistries.com

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