He Is Risen Series / Holy Week / Day 6: Forsaken for Our Sake

He is Risen

He Is Risen | Day 6: Forsaken for Our Sake
Your devotional reading: Day 6

Day 6
Forsaken for Our Sake
By: Amy Peterson

Today’s Reading: Matthew 26:36–46
God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.”
HEBREWS 13:5
Does having a friend nearby make pain more bearable? Researchers at the University of Virginia conducted a fascinating study to answer that question. They wanted to see how the brain reacted to the prospect of pain, and whether it behaved differently if a person faced the threat of pain alone, holding a stranger’s hand, or holding the hand of a close friend.

Researchers ran the test on dozens of pairs, and found consistent results. When a person was alone or holding a stranger’s hand while anticipating a shock, the regions of the brain that process danger lit up. But when holding the hand of a trusted person, the brain relaxed. The comfort of a friend’s presence made the pain seem more bearable.

Jesus needed comfort as He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. He knew what He was about to face: betrayal, arrest, and death. He asked His closest friends to stay and pray with Him, telling them that His soul was “crushed with grief” (Matthew 26:38). But Peter, James, and John kept falling asleep.

Jesus faced the agony of the garden without the comfort of a hand to hold. But because He bore that pain, we can be confident that God will never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). Jesus suffered so that we will never have to experience separation from the love of God (Romans 8:39). His companionship makes anything we endure more bearable.
Because of God’s love, we are never truly alone.

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He Is Risen Series / Holy Week / Day 5: Two Portraits

He is Risen

He Is Risen | Day 5: Two Portraits

Our Daily Bread Ministries

Your devotional reading: Day 5

Day 5
Two Portraits
By: Tim Gustafson

Today’s Reading: John 16:19–24
You have sorrow now, but I will see you again; then you will rejoice, and no one can rob you of that joy.
JOHN 16:22
Clutching two framed photographs, the proud grandmother showed them to friends in the church foyer. The first picture was of her daughter back in her homeland of Burundi. The second was of her grandson, born recently to that daughter. But the daughter wasn’t holding her newborn. She had died giving birth to him.

A friend approached and looked at the pictures. Reflexively, she reached up and held that dear grandmother’s face in her hands. All she could say through her own tears was, “I know. I know.”

And she did know. Two months earlier she had buried a son.

There’s something special about the comfort of others who have experienced our pain. They know. Just before Jesus’s arrest, He warned His disciples, “You will weep and mourn . . . but the world will rejoice.” Yet in the next breath He comforted them: “You will grieve, but your grief will suddenly turn to wonderful joy” (John 16:20). In mere hours, the disciples would be devastated by Jesus’s arrest and crucifixion. But their crushing grief soon turned to a joy they could not have imagined when they saw Him alive again.

Isaiah prophesied of the Messiah, “It was our weaknesses he carried; . . . our sorrows that weighed him down” (Isaiah 53:4). We have a Savior who doesn’t merely know about our pain; He lived it. He knows. He cares. One day our grief will be turned into joy.
When we put our cares into His hands, He puts His peace into our hearts.

 

 

He Is Risen Series / Holy Week / Days 1, 2, 3 And 4

He is Risen

He Is Risen | Day 1: The Price of Love
Our Daily Bread

Your devotional reading: Day 1Day 1
The Price of Love
By: Amy Boucher Pye

Today’s Reading: Isaiah 53:9–12
He bore the sins of many.
ISAIAH 53:12
Our daughter burst into tears as we waved goodbye to my parents. After visiting us in England, they were starting their long journey back to their home in the US. “I don’t want them to go,” she said. As I comforted her, my husband remarked, “I’m afraid that’s the price of love.”

We might feel the pain of being separated from loved ones, but Jesus felt the ultimate separation when He paid the price of love on the cross. He, who was both human and God, fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy 700 years after Isaiah gave it when He “bore the sins of many” (Isaiah 53:12). In this chapter we see rich pointers to Jesus being the suffering Servant, such as when He was “pierced for our rebellion” (v. 5), which happened when He was nailed to the cross and when one of the soldiers pierced His side (John 19:34), and when “he was whipped so we could be healed” (Isaiah 53:5).

Because of love, Jesus came to earth and was born a baby. Because of love, He received the abuse of the teachers of the law, the crowds, and the soldiers. Because of love, He suffered and died to be the perfect sacrifice, standing in our place before the Father. We live because of love.
Jesus was the perfect sacrifice who died to give us life.

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He Is Risen | Day 2: Our Covering
Our Daily Bread

Day 2
Our Covering
By: Anne Cetas

Today’s Reading: Romans 3:21–26
What joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight!
PSALM 32:1
When talking about faith in Jesus, we sometimes use words without understanding or explaining them. One of those words is righteous. We say that God has righteousness and that He makes people righteous, but this can be a tough concept to grasp.

The way the word righteousness is pictured in the Chinese language is helpful. It is a combination of two characters. The top word is lamb. The bottom word is me. The lamb covers or is above the person.

When Jesus came to this world, John the Baptist called Him “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). We need our sin taken care of because it separates us from God whose character and ways are always perfect and right. Because His love for us is great, God made His Son Jesus “who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right [righteous] with God through Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus, the Lamb, sacrificed Himself and shed His blood. He became our “cover.” He makes us righteous, which places us in right relationship with God.

Being right with God is a gift from Him. Jesus, the Lamb, is God’s way to cover us.
The only permanent covering for sin is the blood of Christ.

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He Is Risen | Day 3: Flowing Peace
Our Daily Bread

Day 3
Flowing Peace
By: Amy Boucher Pye

Today’s Reading: John 14:16–27
I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart.
JOHN 14:27
“I’m not surprised you lead retreats,” said an acquaintance in my exercise class. “You have a good aura.” I was jolted but pleased by her comment, because I realized that what she saw as an “aura” in me, I understood to be the peace of Christ. As we follow Jesus, He gives us the peace that transcends understanding (Philippians 4:7) and radiates from within—though we may not even be aware of it.

Jesus promised His followers this peace when, after their last supper together, He prepared them for His death and resurrection. He told them that though they would have trouble in the world, the Father would send them the Spirit of truth to live with them and be in them (John 14:16–17). The Spirit would teach them, bringing to mind His truths; the Spirit would comfort them, bestowing on them His peace. Though soon they would face trials—including fierce opposition from the religious leaders and seeing Jesus executed—He told them not to be afraid. The Holy Spirit’s presence would never leave them.

Although as God’s children we experience hardship, we too have His Spirit living within and flowing out of us. God’s peace can be His witness to everyone we meet—whether at a local market, at school or work, or in the gym.
When we keep our mind on God, His Spirit keeps our mind at peace.

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He Is Risen | Day 4: Free Indeed

Our Daily Bread

Day 4
Free Indeed
By: Bill Crowder

 Today’s Reading: John 8:31–37
If the Son sets you free, you are truly free.
JOHN 8:36

Olaudah Equiano (c. 1745–1796) was only 11 years old when he was kidnapped and sold into slavery. He made the harrowing journey from West Africa to the West Indies, then to the colony of Virginia, and then to England. By the age of 20 he purchased his own freedom, still bearing the emotional and physical scars of the inhumane treatment he had experienced.

Unable to enjoy his own freedom while others were still enslaved, Equiano became active in the movement to abolish slavery in England. He wrote his autobiography (an unheard of achievement for a former slave in that era) in which he described the horrific treatment of the enslaved.

When Jesus came, He fought a battle for all of us who are enslaved and unable to fight for ourselves. Our slavery is not one of outward chains. We are held by our own brokenness and sin. Jesus said, “Everyone who sins is a slave of sin. A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever. So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free” (John 8:34–36).

Wherever such a freedom seems unheard of, His words need to be declared. We can be liberated from our guilt, shame, and hopelessness. By trusting Jesus, we can be free indeed!
The price of our freedom from sin was paid by Jesus’s blood

This Passover ~ Holy Week 7

And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.   Luke 22:15

Not “the” Passover but “this” Passover-the last Passover before the cross.  The Lord fully knew what awaited Him after the supper; “before I suffer”.  He knew all about the arrest, the unrighteous trial, the mockery, scourging, thorns, cross and death that loomed before Him.  Yet there would be resurrection and joy too.  But before all of that, He earnestly desired this last supper with His own.  What about us?  Our Lord is alive and today may we say to Him, “Lord, with desire have I desired to eat this supper, to remember you, thank you, and worship you.  -Carl Knott

Break ye the bread and pour the wine, as ye have seen your Master do; This body and this blood of Mine, is broken and shed for you.  -John Pierpont

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Because of God’s love, we are never truly alone.

INSIGHT: The circumstances that took place on the night of Jesus’s betrayal seemed to be confused, chaotic, and out of control. But our Lord’s measured words in facing His betrayer showed His understanding of the big picture of God’s sovereign plan. Without the cross we could not be redeemed.     Dennis Fisher

2015 Second Orlando Prophecy Summit, Part 48

Russ Breault    ~    Shroud Of Turin: Past, Present, Future

Russ Breault believes there is a 90% chance that the Shroud Of Turin is authentic.

RESURRECTION!  Apologetics

Apologetics is the branch of theology that is concerned with defending or proving the truth of Christian doctrines.

A field of Christian theology which aims to present a rational basis for the Christian faith.

Why do you believe what you believe.

The Shroud falls within the field of apologetics.

The resurrection is the centerpiece of the Christian faith.  “If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.”  I Corinthians 15:14

“If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile.”  I Corinthians 15:17

The resurrection is a settled historic fact:

  • The Shroud is not necessary for belief in the resurrection.
  • Not blind faith.
  • It is a matter of faith based on fact.
  • What are the proof points other than the Shroud?

The apostles referred to the resurrection as a factual event.  I Corinthians 15:3-6  There are about six post resurrection appearances.  The Jews never questioned the empty tomb!  They alleged the disciples stole the body.  How?  Pilate put soldiers to guard the tomb.  For what purpose?  All the apostles except John died as martyrs.  These apostles were all eye witnesses to these events.

Why Jerusalem?

  • Apostles were from Galilee.
  • Why didn’t they go home?
  • The Temple.
  • The Empty Tomb!
  • All the Romans or Jews needed to do was…
  • Produce the dead body of Jesus!
  • Resorted to persecution in AD 37.

Evidence of Transformation

  • Only 7 weeks after the resurrection, Peter with boldness stands in the Temple Court and challenges the very authorities who called for Christ’s crucifixion.
  • Not possible without complete assurance of the resurrection.  Acts 4:9-11

Martyrdom of the Apostles  –  All they had to do was deny the resurrection!

Are there non-biblical historical records that validate what the Scriptures claim?   There are over twenty non-Christian sources between 30 and 130 AD.  They all refer to Jesus as a historical figure.  Twelve mentioned his death by crucifixion.  Ten refer to His resurrection!

With or without the shroud, the resurrection is a historic fact.  The shroud can give us further insight.

Is the Shroud Proof?

  • No…not scientifically
  • The possibility is staggering
  • It could be the most important artifact on the planet!
  • The ultimate apologetic

The Shroud:  Past-Present-Future

Message through History

The image was rediscovered in Edessa, Turkey in the sixth century, described as the true likeness of Christ, not made with human hands.  The icon images all changed from this point on, imitating the shroud.  There are coins from this time with over 180 points of congruence with the shroud.

II Corinthians 4:4

Jesus is the image of the invisible God.  Hebrews 1:3

To see Jesus is to see God.

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Early Context

  • Roman Emperor Caligula who reigned from 37-41 A.D.  was the first to demand worship.  All other emperors who followed, demanded the same.
  • Thousands of Christians would die as martyrs refusing to worship the emperor or his image.

The Image as Theology

  • Early images based on the “True Likeness” were used to confront paganism.
  • Later use was to combat heresy and Gnosticism.  I John 4:1-3

Message to the Church today

  • Remember your first love.   Revelation 2:4
  • You are not your own; you were bought at a price.  I Corinthians 6:19-20
  • The church of God, which he purchased with his own blood.  Acts 20:28

The shroud is a relic, a symbol, a mystery and an artifact.

A Prophetic Message To The Church

The resurrection had no eye witnesses.

What happened in the tomb?  The key to the future is the past.  Matthew 28:3  The Transfiguration  Matthew 17:2

Conversion of Saul  Acts 9:3-8

Has God reserved the shroud for us in the twentieth  century as proof of the resurrection?

We are looking for the glorious appearing.  The blessed hope.  Titus 2:11-14   I John 3:2-3

The power of the resurrection is the power of the Holy Spirit within you!  The shroud represents a future event- the coming of the Lord.  Hebrews 9:28

The next event on the church calendar is the rapture of the saints.

The message of the shroud is BELIEVE!

 

 

The Band Anastazja

www.thebandanastazja.com/

 

The Von Trapp family of American Gospel, Bluegrass and Country –

This fascinating group of family musicians from New York will be playing at various locales in southwest Florida in the spring of 2017.  Check their schedule on their above website.   They will be at First Baptist Church of Charlotte Harbor, 4506 Church Street, Charlotte Harbor, Florida 33980 on February 26 at 6 PM.  (941)629-8101.  There is no charge.  A love offering will be taken.

The Band Anastazja Promotional Video 2013

 Francesca Valentina

“Frankie”

Born on July 5th 2015

Our family

    Music is no stranger to this family band that hails from the beautiful Upstate New York countryside, where makin’ music is a way of life. Armed with a banjo, mandolin, fiddle, guitar, bass, the spoons, eight kids, Mom, Dad, and Gramma, The Band Anastazja travels here, there and everywhere to entertain folks with their unique style of music and their genuineness in the real life stories that they tell and the songs to accompany them. Mom, Stacey, says that, “We need to keep the old music alive, because if we don’t, it will be gone and forgotten.” It’s not uncommon for you to hear the band playing songs that Grandma played on the radio with a new sound…songs that paved the way in country music. You’ll hear songs from Loretta Lynn, Hank Williams and the Carter Family as well as some gospel and originals, including the band’s latest, “Hard Times We Never Had” telling of how good they have it today.
This family of eleven will knock your socks off with the children playing well beyond their years. From the oldest just turning eighteen, and the youngest, just a baby…they all have something to give. Lea, 18, says that “Music is my life. Well…God and music. Without those two things, I wouldn’t be who I am today.” Mom will charm you with her openness and real life stories of what it’s like in the trenches of raising a large family with humorous little stories of everyday life. “People often ask my husband and I if we’re “done” yet. We always say “no” because the look of shock and awe on their face is worth a million bucks. The funny thing is, is that they don’t even know what they’re missing. Someday I will write a song about it.”
The Band Anastazja is planning a winter tour down the lower East Coast and throughout Florida again in January and February, sharing their music with the world. “We play anywhere from churches, rv parks, festivals, and theaters and love every moment of it.” (Well…almost every moment.) Having small children brings character and challenge to the mix. “I’m still mom…even when I’m on stage. Every so often, I’ll see the little boys start to fight or Elizabeth will be trying to get away with something and I’ll have to handle it from the stage and bring them up front to sit. It’s hard at times, but it’s worth every ounce of effort. We’ve really been given so much.”

People often ask why we’ve chosen the name “Anastazja” (anna-sta-zha) as our mantra. The name comes from the Greek, meaning “Resurrection” or “Reborn.” We loved this because with so many young children and the fact that every day the Good Lord has given all of us the chance to start again, to start fresh, to leave our mistakes behind…the name just seemed captivating. We chose the Polish spelling because that is part of our heritage and we’re proud of it!