“I am sending you out …Be as gentle as a dove and wise as a serpent…Be on guard.” Matthew 16

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                   It’s time to change- are you ready? Are you willing to step out for Christ? I want to see “God’s kingdom come on earth as it is in Heaven” don’t you? I want to remind you of who you are in Christ, and what He has commissioned you to do. Be Strong and Very Courageous. Decide today who you will follow. What’s that? You’ve been knocked down and discouraged? oh- get over it! The church needs you- dust of, get back up and hear the word of the Lord:

Matthew  16 “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.  Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues.  On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say,  for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

YOU ARE BEING SENT OUT TO DO THE WORKS JESUS DID. IT’S TIME TO CHANGE- TO BE THE NEW AND DIFFERENT PERSON CHRIST HAS CALLED US OUT TO BE.

Luke 10:19  Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.

AND YOU CAN BE CONFIDENT OF THIS; THAT HE WHO BEGAN A GOOD WORK IN YOU WILL CARRY IT ON UNTIL COMPLETION UNTIL THE DAY OF JESUS CHRIST. THE POWER THAT RAISED CHRIST FROM THE DEAD LIVES WITHIN YOU.  YOU CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS YOU.

You have been chosen: Jesus said :“My Father has entrusted everything to me. No one truly knows the Son except the Father, and no one truly knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” Luke 10:22

We’ve been called to do the Works Jesus did. John 10 :12-18 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

The Message translation : The person who trusts me will not only do what I’m doing but even greater things, because I, on my way to the Father, am giving you the same work to do that I’ve been doing. You can count on it. From now on, whatever you request along the lines of who I am and what I am doing, I’ll do it. That’s how the Father will be seen for who he is in the Son. I mean it. Whatever you request in this way, I’ll do.

Think about that: The works Jesus did and even greater works in His name because He has gone to the Father. He walked on water, healed the sick, set the captives free, turned water into wine, feed 5000 men with a small basket of food, calmed the stormy sea, healed disease, brought the dead back to life, restored a severed ear, opened blind ears, caused the deaf to hear, caught a fish with a coin in it’s mouth, healed and freed those possessed by a demon/s, healed the mute, healed a withered hand, healed a paralyzed man, healed leprosy. Jesus said you can do these works, and even greater in His name so He can honor the Father.

I want to see a church on fire for God. I want our lives to Glorify Him. I don’t want to live and learn a life of a watered down gospel. I know God’s word is alive and powerful and I want to see His people Glorify His name in our places of worship.

Easter Sunday is around the corner and yet again I dread going to church.  I used to feel bad about thinking that. It seems nothing has changed since I was that 13 yr old rebellious teen. I loved God, knew He could do incredible things and even had scripture engrained in my heart- but church- ugh! was torture to me. I can remember that Sunday as if it were yesterday.  “ I AM NOOOOOOOT going to church!!” I yelled to my father as I sprinted out the door and down the street. He chased me 3 blocks as I sprinted along the sidewalk.

I see God’s work in my life. I see Him answer prayers. I’ve seen Him do mighty miracles and I ‘ve heard His voice. I know how much He loves us and I know without a doubt every single word in the bible is so true- it’s actually alive.  Sometimes I think I’d find the children’s worship much more fun for me. God’s word isn’t boring, but why is church sometimes so difficult to sit through? Maybe it’s my hyperness , I don’t know- but that’s what makes me ME. It may sound like I’m all over the place- but everything fits like a puzzle within my thoughts. The scripture somehow comes together like a puzzle in my mind and it never stops—it goes on and on and on.

I see something missing :
WHERE IS THE FEAR OF GOD IN OUR CHURCHES?
Love for others?

     Has the church gotten too worldly. I questioned even writing this and prayed about it, wondering- should I really put my thoughts here? I prefer to put only God’s word and what the Lord shows me through scripture, but today  is…different. As I talked to the Lord about my thoughts, I sat down at the computer and opened up todays news- Sun Sentinel. Front page- a church is doing a whodunnit, a who shot the pastor  show for Easter. I want to cry.  God’s word, His power, His Majesty, His Holiness, His Mercy is so amazing, so exciting, so opposite of boring to me- how could any worldly idea even match it? Has the true word of God become so boring and lifeless to people that we have to make our churches more worldly to bring them into God’s house.

Where are the works of Jesus in the Church? Are you seeing them in your church? Really…please share to encourage the rest of us. I see sickness, death, depression, complaining, isolation,  texting, disrespect- yes, now we can sip coffee and dip donuts in God’s house.  We can’t for one hour have a little respect. Where is the Fear of God?   Do you know how terrifying it is to be in His presence?  If we saw Him we would surely die!  The Lord is mighty, awesome and so Holy- words on earth cannot even describe it. Once I was before His throne and I was terribly afraid! We are so unworthy, yet He has made us worthy. His Holiness is indescribable, His absolute love for us is beyond our ability to understand.  Have the “worldly” Christians silenced those Christians who want to do the works of Jesus. Where is it? I want to see it. It has been proclaimed for us. Why do I dread going to church?  I love the word of God, I love the Father and I love to sit and study and meditate on scripture all day, yet Sunday morning rolls around and nothing has changed.

And what about HOLINESS. Aren’t we called to be Holy? then why do I cringe with embarrassment when I ride by some of church signs with obvious double meaning- “hey mom,  why does that church say that the pastor is naked?” ok, kids, don’t look, that’s just a ……. ‘uh, mom, why does that sign say come to my church where everyone is naked” don’t read that kids, that’s someone who doesn’t know God. “mom, what does “****** up” mean on that church sign,;uh…. that means they don’t read the bible. It gets worse, maybe it’s just my area, but a lot of the signs are so ungodly and so unholy. Sure, everyone hears the excuse “it calls in the lost” really???? because that is not the way Jesus called in the lost. If there’s one thing. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and acts like a duck, it’s a duck” So with that I can conclude- if it looks unholy, if it sounds unholy, if it acts unholy, well then Its unholy! y ya!

BE STRONG IN THE LORD AND THE POWER OF HIS MIGHT. FEAR GOD AND DO NOT FEAR MAN. REJOICE IN OPPOSITION AND DON’T LET PEOPLE’S SCORN AND COUNTENANCE KNOCK YOU DOWN.

Isaiah 51: 12-17 “I, even I, am he who comforts you.  Who are you that you fear mere mortals,  human beings who are but grass, that you forget the LORD your Maker, who stretches out the heavens and who lays the foundations of the earth, that you live in constant terror every day because of the wrath of the oppressor,  who is bent on destruction?…..  For I am the LORD your God,  who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar— the LORD Almighty is his name. I have put my words in your mouth and covered you with the shadow of my hand— I who set the heavens in place, who laid the foundations of the earth, and who say to Zion, ‘You are my people.’”

            That is yea and amen!

  He has hidden us in the shadow of His hand, but for some of you, it is time to stand up. He is calling many- but who will listen? Who is bold enough to stand in oppositions to the world? Who is strong enough to proclaim Jesus lives in a world where Jesus is mocked?

   When I consider the cross and what Jesus did for me- he took the chastisement I deserved, he was mocked and hated and treated harshly…am I ready to take that hatred from the world as well? It’s not easy, but I think that if we want to see real change in the church,  we need to be ready for opposition. We need to have no fear of naysayers. We need to have fear of God in our churches. We need to stop fearing the words of people  and live by the word of God. I guess what I am saying is this-  If we really want to see the works of Jesus, if we really want to see the fear of God in our churches, we must be ready to step out in God’s way with no mind to people’s criticism.  I just shouldn’t care anymore about peoples opinion- May the Fear of God be mighty and strong within us. May the Lord fill us with amazing Faith and begin to step out in order to Glorify the Lord- and the Lord only. 

                    I don’t want to hear another watered down gospel message. I don’t want to hear all the ugly things you did in your past as you use them as a badge of honor, I don’t want to praise God like we are a bunch of corpses, I don’t want to hear all the church gossip, I don’t want to do to a class on your religious man made rules, I don’t want to go to your club and work my way up into the church hierarchy. I’m so sick and tired of it!  I want to see God’s prescence. I want to see a fear of God. I want to see people hungry for the word. I don’t want to hear another fake encouragement session with man made ideas and philosophy from the pulpit. I don’t want to hear a sermon on why the sacred rituals and the religious sacraments make your church better than everyone else. I can see right through you holy rollers proclaiming the Spirit’s prescence while the air is thick with greed and absolutely no love for those around you even though you proclaim it so loudly. I’m just so annoyed, can you tell?  Money, greed, fame, popularity- I don’t hear this in the words of Jeremiah, Isaiah, or Ezekiel.  I can’t imagine Jeremiah sporting around town with a starbucks in his hand and a $200 shirt and $450 boots.  All I can say right now is

Many will call out to him saying  “Lord, Lord!” and in turn the lord will say, get away from me, I never knew you.

 What do you want to see in the Church? How can we call in the Lost, when there is no where to bring them? Let’s start with this :  Fear of the Lord, Holiness, Faith, Knowledge of the Scriptures, Love for God and a love for all people,Compassion, Mercy, Humility,  those with humble and contrite hearts, Fire of the holy spirit ablaze in believers,Boldness for Christ ,Passion for the lost, Works of the Holy Spirit,Works that Jesus did, and even greater – I want to see.- don’t you?

Lord,  give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word. Stretch out your hands with healing powers. May miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of Jesus Christ. Lead us along the right pathways and teach us and lead us as we bring in the lost as you have commissioned us to do. In the precious name of your son, Jesus, Amen (Act 4:27)

Luke 10:22 You have been chosen.

Where did Jesus go when He died? Christos Anesti! Alethos Anesti! Christ is Risen! Indeed He has!

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  Where did Jesus go when He died? I decided to gather some scripture to answer this question.  (I’m sure I’ll find more soon) Read and look over the verses. Scripture in no way contradicts itself.  The Word of God is all truth, living and powerful.  Below the verses, I have put together what I imagine happened on the day our Great God and Savior died for us.

So he went and preached to the spirits in prison—  those who disobeyed God long ago when God waited patiently while Noah was building his boat. Only eight people were saved from drowning in that terrible flood. And that water is a picture of baptism, which now saves you, not by removing dirt from your body, but as a response to God froma clean conscience. It is effective because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  1 Peter 3:19-21

Now Christ has gone to heaven. He is seated in the place of honor next to God, and all the angels and authorities and powers accept his authority 1 Peter 3:20

 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise. Luke 23:43

I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. Rev 1:18 

 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) Eph 4: 9-10

 

 Sunday Morning: Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”JOhn 20:17

8 days lataer:  Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!”John 20

 

 Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,  and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 1 Peter 2:14-15

For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. Matthew 12:40

     For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;  Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him. 1Peter 3:18 -22

 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Act 2:27

 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. psalm 16:10

 I made the nations to shake at the sound of his fall, when I cast him down to hell with them that descend into the pit: and all the trees of Eden, the choice and best of Lebanon, all that drink water, shall be comforted in the nether parts of the earth. Ez 31:16 (not sure about this verse, but it makes me think- this chapter in Ezekiel could have prophetic meaning as it speaks of Assyria- it’s the part that says, all that drink water, shall be comforted in the nether parts of the earth)

What do I think? Well of course, I wasn’t there, I can only study the scriptures we are given. However, in my mind, this is what I imagine….

   A great heavenly host of angels, the prophets, the forefathers, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the Archangel Gabriel surrounded the cross at that moment. They had watched as the Son of God was tried and beaten throughout the night, they watched as He carried the cross. When  He was nailed to the cross, the entire heavens stood silent. A great silence and stillness covered the heavens as tears slipped down their faces, their fury held back as they watched the Savior suffer in utter torment. Abraham watching his children spit and strike the Lord, the angels wanting desperately to rescue Him, and the prophets of old bowing their heads with broken hearts as they all watched the Son of God, Jesus Christ, the Lion of tribe of Judah and the King of kings descended from the line of King David, nailed to a cross. The savior of the world in deep abandonment, sorrow, pain and rejection. On the cross for 6 hours and after 3 hours of complete darkess, they heard the Lord cry out “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” and then another cry “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and released his spirit. It was done. He died and the earth quaked. The thick veil in the temple tore in two and the proclamation echoed out:

        “See, my servant will prosper; he will be highly exalted. But many were amazed when they saw him. His face was so disfigured he seemed hardly human, and from his appearance, one would scarcely know he was a man.  And he will startle many nations. Kings will stand speechless in his presence. For they will see what they had not been told;  they will understand what they had not heard about. And because of his experience, my righteous servant has made it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he has borne all their sins.  I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier, because he exposed himself to death. He was counted among the rebelsHe bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels. He has  opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. He has made the people holy by the blood He shed, He has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come. He has entered that greater, more perfect Tabernacle in heaven, which was not made by human hands and is not part of this created world.  With his own blood—not the blood of goats and calves—he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever  so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins. He mediates a new covenant between God and people, so that all who are called can receive the eternal inheritance God has promised them. “


  As He released His spirit, He was taken up into the arms of the heavenly host who quickly gathered around Him, each wanted to comfort the King of Kings, the Prince of Peace, the Messiah, the Holy One. They surrounded Him and held Him with great love, comforting Him. They comforted and strengthened Him as they brought Him into the Heavens into the Holy of Holies in the Presence of His Father.
    He, the Son Jesus, was given all authority in Heaven and Earth from God the Father. All Power was given to Him. He was strengthened and given the keys to Hades. He then went into the dark abyss with a mighty angelic force behind Him. Entering into the gates of Hell Proclaiming freedom every captive “ You have been set free! I have come to save You! Your Father in Heaven has sent for you!”  His voice like thunder echoing throughout for every man and woman to hear. Teaching and preaching to them the Good News. He walked through the gates of Hell and throughout the pit of Hell, making sure He spoke to everyone who had ever been created, gathering as many as He could. Demons surrounding Him silenced in His Power unable to speak and filled with weakness, trembling in His presence. The Savior, full of power and authority continued showing the captives His hands and feet, showing everyone what our Savior had done so they could be set free.  Many called out to Him, grabbing on to Him, following and believing, but yet others – in anger like the Pharisees, mocked Him and treated Him as the people of the world treated Him.  Just as the Pharisees knew He was God and choose to reject Him for their own pride, status and evil hearts, so some of the people in Hell also treated Him. 
    So the Lord Jesus took His captives to freedom as they He gathered them into the Heavens, out of the pit of torment and dread that was supposed to be eternal for each one of them. As they reached the Great Throne room before the Lord God Almighty, the Lord’s heart leaped for joy to see His children. He gave each one a Great Embrace as is they were the only child of the Father- telling them- “ My Child, I have always loved you with an everlating love. Since the days of Noah, I have never forgotten you. You have never left my mind. I am filled with Joy that you are here with me. I have a place prepared for you.”
    Jesus came back to earth to see and talk to His friends giving them instructions and proving that He is the Son of the Living God.
    With that He was taken up into the Heavens where He sits today at the right hand of God the Father. The heavens, the freed captives, and the angelic host filled the heavens with great Praises to the King of Kings and they have never stopped – even unto this day- I can still hear them sing praises to the new born king, Peace on earth, goodwill toward men, Christ was born in Bethlehem -the praises to Him ring forth forever and ever.
              Amen and Glory Hallelujah! Our King is Risen.

As my Grandpa taught me to say each Easter :“Christos Anesti” and we continue to reply “Aléthos Anesti “ Which is Greek for : “Christ is Risen!” And we reply “Indeed He Has! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!”

 
 This video below was one of my favorite songs in church. I couldn’t wait to hear it each Easter. I wanted to run up and down the pews of church singing and dancing this as I stood motionless with my class- but inside I was praising my King.  I think you’ll understand the excitement of the children as they sing “The King of Glory comes a nation rejoices! Open the Gates Before Him lift up your voices! Who is this King of Glory has shall I call Him? He is Emmanuel the Promises of Ages!(Ps 24)

My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
    Why are you so far away when I groan for help
I am scorned and despised by all!
 Everyone who sees me mocks me.
    They sneer and shake their heads, saying,
“Is this the one who relies on the Lord?
    Then let the Lord save him!
If the Lord loves him so much, let the Lord rescue him!”
My life is poured out like water,and all my bones are out of joint.
My heart is like wax,melting within me.
 My strength has dried up like sunbaked clay.
    My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth.
    You have laid me in the dust and left me for dead.
My enemies surround me like a pack of dogs;
    an evil gang closes in on me.
    They have pierced my hands and feet
I can count all my bones.
    My enemies stare at me and gloat.
 They divide my garments among themselves
    and throw dicefor my clothing
Ps 22

My disclaimer: I know there is A LOT of debate on wether Jesus did or did not go to hell, hades, abyss, spirits in prison(that’s another argument in itself) I have merely given you the verses to think about for yourself and my wonderings today.  “I don’t consider myself with things to great for me to grasp, but instead I have calmed and quited myself” Ps 131 🙂
                           Christ Has Risen, Indeed He Has !