How much would you give if they were against you? How far would you go if they wanted to kill you? Would you be willing to go through the pain if you knew the incredible gain that would come from it? Would you be willing to deal with the pain and suffering if you knew it meant the lives of so many others? Would you be willing to give it all to provide a way for people to be reconciled? Would you be willing to give your all so that there would be a chance and an opportunity for people to become free, to have a future, and to have a hope?
Jesus was and Jesus did! He gave it all so that we could be reconciled to God! He gave it all so that we could have the opportunity to turn back to God and be received! He gave it all even though we didn’t deserve it! He showed true love and grace by giving it all while we were yet sinners so that we could have a hope and a future! Have you received this gift yet?
Jesus Is Crucified
(Matthew 27.32-44; Mark 15.21-32; Luke 23.26-43)
So they took charge of Jesus. 17He went out, carrying his cross, and came to “The Place of the Skull,” as it is called. (In Hebrew it is called “Golgotha.”) 18There they crucified him; and they also crucified two other men, one on each side, with Jesus between them. 19Pilate wrote a notice and had it put on the cross. “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews,” is what he wrote. 20Many people read it, because the place where Jesus was crucified was not far from the city. The notice was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek. 21The chief priests said to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but rather, ‘This man said, I am the King of the Jews.’” 22Pilate answered, “What I have written stays written.” 23After the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier. They also took the robe, which was made of one piece of woven cloth without any seams in it. 24The soldiers said to one another, “Let’s not tear it; let’s throw dice to see who will get it.” This happened in order to make the scripture come true: “They divided my clothes among themselves and gambled for my robe.” And this is what the soldiers did. 25Standing close to Jesus’ cross were his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26Jesus saw his mother and the disciple he loved standing there; so he said to his mother, “He is your son.” 27Then he said to the disciple, “She is your mother.” From that time the disciple took her to live in his home.
–from John 19
He opened the door to make a way for us to get to heaven! And one day He will come back to call those who have turned their lives back to God through Him. We don’t know the exact day or the exact time, but we do know that we are to be prepared! We are to be ready for His return! We are to be living like today matters!
The Lamb and His People
1Then I looked, and there was the Lamb standing on Mount Zion; with him were 144,000 people who have his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. 2And I heard a voice from heaven that sounded like a roaring waterfall, like a loud peal of thunder. It sounded like the music made by musicians playing their harps. 3The 144,000 people stood before the throne, the four living creatures, and the elders; they were singing a new song, which only they could learn. Of the whole human race they are the only ones who have been redeemed. 4They are the men who have kept themselves pure by not having sexual relations with women; they are virgins. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They have been redeemed from the rest of the human race and are the first ones to be offered to God and to the Lamb. 5They have never been known to tell lies; they are faultless.
The Three Angels
6Then I saw another angel flying high in the air, with an eternal message of Good News to announce to the peoples of the earth, to every race, tribe, language, and nation. 7He said in a loud voice, “Honor God and praise his greatness! For the time has come for him to judge all people. Worship him who made heaven, earth, sea, and the springs of water!” 8A second angel followed the first one, saying, “She has fallen! Great Babylon has fallen! She made all peoples drink her wine—the strong wine of her immoral lust!” 9A third angel followed the first two, saying in a loud voice, “Those who worship the beast and its image and receive the mark on their forehead or on their hand 10will themselves drink God’s wine, the wine of his fury, which he has poured at full strength into the cup of his anger! All who do this will be tormented in fire and sulfur before the holy angels and the Lamb. 11The smoke of the fire that torments them goes up forever and ever. There is no relief day or night for those who worship the beast and its image, for anyone who has the mark of its name.” 12This calls for endurance on the part of God’s people, those who obey God’s commandments and are faithful to Jesus. 13Then I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Happy are those who from now on die in the service of the Lord!” “Yes indeed!” answers the Spirit. “They will enjoy rest from their hard work, because the results of their service go with them.”
The Harvest of the Earth
14Then I looked, and there was a white cloud, and sitting on the cloud was what looked like a human being, with a crown of gold on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. 15Then another angel came out from the temple and cried out in a loud voice to the one who was sitting on the cloud, “Use your sickle and reap the harvest, because the time has come; the earth is ripe for the harvest!” 16Then the one who sat on the cloud swung his sickle on the earth, and the earth’s harvest was reaped. 17Then I saw another angel come out of the temple in heaven, and he also had a sharp sickle. 18Then another angel, who is in charge of the fire, came from the altar. He shouted in a loud voice to the angel who had the sharp sickle, “Use your sickle, and cut the grapes from the vineyard of the earth, because the grapes are ripe!” 19So the angel swung his sickle on the earth, cut the grapes from the vine, and threw them into the wine press of God’s furious anger. 20The grapes were squeezed out in the wine press outside the city, and blood came out of the wine press in a flood two hundred miles long and about five feet deep.
–from Revelation 14
How close will you stick to God? How much do you depend on Him! It’s all about having a relationship with Him! It’s not about rituals and religion, it’s all about having a relationship with God that was opened and provided through the love, the grace, the mercy of God when He sent Jesus to this world!
16God brought you out of trouble, and let you enjoy security; your table was piled high with food. 17But now you are being punished as you deserve. 18Be careful not to let bribes deceive you, or riches lead you astray. 19It will do you no good to cry out for help; all your strength can’t help you now. 20Don’t wish for night to come, the time when nations will perish. 21Be careful not to turn to evil; your suffering was sent to keep you from it. 22Remember how great is God’s power; he is the greatest teacher of all. 23No one can tell God what to do or accuse him of doing evil. 24He has always been praised for what he does; you also must praise him. 25Everyone has seen what he has done; but we can only watch from a distance. 26We cannot fully know his greatness or count the number of his years. 27It is God who takes water from the earth and turns it into drops of rain. 28He lets the rain pour from the clouds in showers for all human beings. 29No one knows how the clouds move or how the thunder roars through the sky, where God dwells. 30He sends lightning through all the sky, but the depths of the sea remain dark. 31This is how he feeds the people and provides an abundance of food. 32He seizes the lightning with his hands and commands it to hit the mark. 33Thunder announces the approaching storm, and the cattle know it is coming.
–from Job 36
We can’t assume and can’t judge that because of troubles going on in someone’s life that they have done something wrong. We see that with the blind man when the disciples ask who sinned, his parents or himself. But we read:
“It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him.
–from John 9:3
So rather than judge someone else when they are struggling, why don’t you come alongside them, pray for them, believe with them that something greater is yet to come! Build up their faith! Put your trust in God! Seek wisdom for the answers and the purpose for what is going on! We need to stay connected to God and remember that He is
–from Psalm 86:15
1This is a message about Nineveh, the account of a vision seen by Nahum, who was from Elkosh.
The Lord’s Anger against Nineveh
2The Lord God tolerates no rivals; he punishes those who oppose him. In his anger he pays them back. 3The Lord does not easily become angry, but he is powerful and never lets the guilty go unpunished. Where the Lord walks, storms arise; the clouds are the dust raised by his feet! 4He commands the sea, and it dries up! He makes the rivers go dry. The fields of Bashan wither, Mount Carmel turns brown, and the flowers of Lebanon fade. 5Mountains quake in the presence of the Lord; hills melt before him. The earth shakes when the Lord appears; the world and all its people tremble. 6When he is angry, who can survive? Who can survive his terrible fury? He pours out his flaming anger; rocks crumble to dust before him. 7The Lord is good; he protects his people in times of trouble; he takes care of those who turn to him. 8Like a great rushing flood he completely destroys his enemies; he sends to their death those who oppose him. 9What are you plotting against the Lord? He will destroy you. No one opposes him more than once. 10Like tangled thorns and dry straw you drunkards will be burned up! 11From you, Nineveh, there came someone full of wicked schemes, who plotted against the Lord. 12This is what the Lord says to his people Israel: “Even though the Assyrians are strong and numerous, they will be destroyed and disappear. My people, I made you suffer, but I will not do it again. 13I will now end Assyria’s power over you and break the chains that bind you.” 14This is what the Lord has decreed about the Assyrians: “They will have no descendants to carry on their name. I will destroy the idols that are in the temples of their gods. I am preparing a grave for the Assyrians—they don’t deserve to live!” 15Look, a messenger is coming over the mountains with good news! He is on his way to announce the victory! People of Judah, celebrate your festivals and give God what you solemnly promised him. The wicked will never invade your land again. They have been totally destroyed!
–from Nahum 1
Are you going to pick sides? Which side will you take? Will you choose to be on the winning side? Have you read the end of the book?
The Fall of Nineveh
1Nineveh, you are under attack! The power that will shatter you has come. Prepare the defenses! Guard the road! Prepare for battle! ( 2The Lord is about to restore the glory of Israel, as it was before her enemies plundered her.) 3The enemy soldiers carry red shields and wear uniforms of red. They are preparing to attack! Their chariots flash like fire! Their horses prance! 4Chariots dash wildly through the streets, rushing back and forth in the city squares. They flash like torches and dart about like lightning. 5The officers are summoned; they stumble as they press forward. The attackers rush to the wall and set up the shield for the battering ram. 6The gates by the river burst open; the palace is filled with terror. 7The queen is taken captive; her servants moan like doves and beat their breasts in sorrow. 8Like water from a broken dam the people rush from Nineveh! “Stop! Stop!” the cry rings out—but no one turns back. 9Plunder the silver! Plunder the gold! The city is full of treasure! 10Nineveh is destroyed, deserted, desolate! Hearts melt with fear; knees tremble, strength is gone; faces grow pale. 11Where now is the city that was like a den of lions, the place where young lions were fed, where the lion and the lioness would go and their cubs would be safe? 12The lion killed his prey and tore it to pieces for his mate and her cubs; he filled his den with torn flesh. 13“I am your enemy!” says the Lord Almighty. “I will burn up your chariots. Your soldiers will be killed in war, and I will take away everything that you took from others. The demands of your envoys will no longer be heard.”
–from Nahum 2
What do you want to be known for? How are you living your life? What is your legacy?
1Doomed is the lying, murderous city, full of wealth to be looted and plundered! 2Listen! The crack of the whip, the rattle of wheels, the gallop of horses, the jolting of chariots! 3Cavalry troops charge, swords flash, spears gleam! Corpses are piled high, dead bodies without number—men stumble over them! 4Nineveh the whore is being punished. Attractive and full of deadly charms, she enchanted nations and enslaved them. 5The Lord Almighty says, “I will punish you, Nineveh! I will strip you naked and let the nations see you, see you in all your shame. 6I will treat you with contempt and cover you with filth. People will stare at you in horror. 7All who see you will shrink back. They will say, ‘Nineveh lies in ruins! Who has any sympathy for her? Who will want to comfort her?’” 8Nineveh, are you any better than Thebes, the capital of Egypt? She too had a river to protect her like a wall—the Nile was her defense. 9She ruled Ethiopia and Egypt, there was no limit to her power; Libya was her ally. 10Yet the people of Thebes were carried off into exile. At every street corner their children were beaten to death. Their leading men were carried off in chains and divided among their captors. 11Nineveh, you too will fall into a drunken stupor! You too will try to escape from your enemies. 12All your fortresses will be like fig trees with ripe figs: shake the trees, and the fruit falls right into your mouth! 13Your soldiers are helpless, and your country stands defenseless before your enemies. Fire will destroy the bars across your gates. 14Draw water to prepare for a siege, and strengthen your fortresses! Trample the clay to make bricks, and get the brick molds ready! 15No matter what you do, you will still be burned to death or killed in battle. You will be wiped out like crops eaten up by locusts. You multiplied like locusts! 16You produced more merchants than there are stars in the sky! But now they are gone, like locusts that spread their wings and fly away. 17Your officials are like a swarm of locusts that stay in the walls on a cold day. But when the sun comes out, they fly away, and no one knows where they have gone! 18Emperor of Assyria, your governors are dead, and your noblemen are asleep forever! Your people are scattered on the mountains, and there is no one to bring them home again. 19There is no remedy for your injuries, and your wounds cannot be healed. All those who hear the news of your destruction clap their hands for joy. Did anyone escape your endless cruelty?
–from Nahum 3