You asked and we have answered. Question: Did Jesus Die on the Cross? Christian Education Director, Elder Owens tackles this subject for you. Sit back, relax, and take notes as Elder Owens not only answers if Jesus died on the cross but also what does it mean to have died on a stake? And was crucifixion an actual form of torture for the Romans?
In “You can make it,” Bishop Blake reminds us that there is a point in our temporary suffering. How we handle trials will determine, “whether we are tolerating life or actually enjoying it.” If we stay steadfast and focus on who God is, we will not and cannot crumble under life’s pressures. Our trials are a way for God to show us his power and allow us to know Him better. If we never needed a financial break through, then we would not know that God is a provider. If we never got sick, we would not know that God is a healer. Therefore, in all trials remember how God brought you out of the last situation.
God’s power is unparalleled and in all things you can make it!
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Philippians 4:13
During Spring cleaning we take time out to do a deep cleaning. We remove the clutter from our homes, clean stains from the driveway, even put another coat of paint on the garage. Is it safe to say that while we tackle these arduous chores, we meditate on cleansing our spirits as well?
The Bible says, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:2 It takes work to renew our minds and with all the hustle and bustle of life, we many times need to slow down and make sure that we are focused on the things that really matter; kingdom living, holiness and sharing the good news of Christ with others. There are many scriptures that tell us how to keep our spirits focused on Christ. Meditate on the word day and night, think of things that are holy, pure and righteous, pray without ceasing, worship and fellowship amongst other believers and fast, reminding our bodies that we can not live by bread alone. We have much work to do.
Here’s a simple check list:
1. Have you had your Spring Cleaning Devotion today?
2. Have you spoke well of God today?
3. Have you made it a point to help others?
As we are scrubbing away the dirt of the previous months, let us invite God to scrub away old habits. Click here to download some Spring Cleaning tips from Martha Stewart.
God has a plan. Every single thing that he does is ultimately for one person; unhindered fellowship with his children. This is the reason why he came to Earth and died on a cross; to redeem his children and allow them full access to His throne. Christ’s vision is for evangelism across the globe. You were saved to bring someone else to Christ.
To whom much is given, much is required. Bishop Blake tells us in his sermon, “Give God Something to Look Forward To” that it is a sin to receive from God and not be fruitful. God honors productivity. He requires us to be productive in His plan of salvation to all people. God blesses you and looks forward to how many people you will tell that, “Promotion does not come from the east or the west, but from above.” God heals you and looks forward to seeing how many people you will give your testimony to. God delivers you and wait to see how many people your testimony can touch. I urge you to give all that is required of you from the God that blesses you daily. Salvation is meant to be shared.
Testimony of a contributing writer…
When bad things happen in my life, I never cry. I usually tend to laugh. Even when I’m sad, I laugh. There are certain days tears will flow from my eyes and I do not know why. I have awoken to sadness that pierces my heart and been completely clueless as to the reason that I am feeling this way. I know what’s right, but somehow I end up making decisions that tend to hurt me, rather than help me. I’ve sat in my room before and asked God why is there a hole in my heart that seems like it can’t be filled. There has always been a piece of me that felt like something was missing, and whatever that missing link is has caused me to make horrible decisions that will temporarily fill the void. I’ve been in crowds of people and felt completely alone. I’ve tried to talk to friends, but was unable to articulate the sadness, anxiety and hurt I felt in random moments in my life.
The Bible says, “Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end. There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand.” Proverbs 19:20-21. There are many scriptures that tell us to listen to Godly counsel, learn from the elders and surround ourselves with wise friends. The heart is complex and many times there are so many layers to the way that we feel and the way that we react to certain situations that we are unable to clearly identify the root. Therapy is such a taboo topic to so many people. It has been perceived as weakness and associated with mental illness, but the truth is that God recommends Christian counsel. Counselors are trained to listen and help identify the pains in your life. They do not cut out the Holy Spirit’s counsel, but they allow you to know what to pray for.
The tribulations of life can be overwhelming, and no man is an island. God has given us people that have the gift of discernment and encouragement for a reason. They help us to get through those difficult moments that we are unable to handle alone. Sometimes you just need someone to talk to; someone to listen to you; someone to hear the things you’re not saying. Christian counselors are that gift.
“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” II Corinthians 1:3-4
If you are seeking a Christian counselor, we invite you to contact the Counseling Center here West Angeles Church of God in Christ.
The Bible speaks of rest for our weary souls. It let’s us know that God will provide us with peace that surpasses all understanding if we keep our heart and minds on Him. However, it is hard to really tap into those precious moments of unspeakable peace when we are knee deep in angst and stress and don’t know how we will get out of the situations life puts us in. It just doesn’t feel right to be going through so much pain and heartache and yet be completely surrounded by peace. It feels contradictory. I know I am guilty of resting in my worry so that God will be convinced of the severity of my cry and He will come to my rescue.
However, my plan is flawed because resting in the peace of God assures Him that I trust Him and I have ultimate faith in His will. As we all know, without faith it is impossible to please God. My favorite lyrics are to the song “What A friend we have in Jesus.” They say, “Oh, what peace we often forfeit. Oh, what needless pains we bear. All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.”
Bishop Blake reminds us in the sermon, “Rest,” that God’s peace is open to everyone that seeks refuge from his or her storm. His peace will provide an umbrella in a rainstorm. His joy will provide steady ground in an earthquake. His love will hold you in His hand, while the storms rage. Focus on the scripture, “Be anxious for nothing, but in all things through prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Phillipians 4:6-7
“For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the Earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land. The fig tree putteth forth her green figs and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.” Song of Songs 2:11-13
It’s spring time! Many people’s favorite time of the year, as we transition out of the cold, gloomy winter months into sun, flowers and birds chirping. However, it is a season of preparation; preparation for the beauty of summer. The hemisphere begins to warm significantly causing the snow from winter to melt away. It is the season of rain, which prepares the flowers for their grand entrance and nourishes the ground for the hot months ahead. Spring is considered a time of renewal, rebirth and re-growth. It is considered the start for better times.
Sometimes we are in periods of preparation within our lives. We’re not necessarily in a storm but we are not where we want to be. We have not reached the blessing we’ve been praying for and God is telling us to wait. He is preparing us for what’s to come. We know that the Bible tells us, “Every good and perfect gift comes from the Lord” and “He will withhold no good thing from those that love the Lord” but that good thing has not arrived yet.
Be patient in your time of spring, allow God to prepare you for His blessings. Springtime is a time of rebirth and renewal after the rough winter. Let those things melt away that caused you suffering during your winter months. You’ll never be able to move forward if you still hold on to the disappointments of your past. Be reminded that something greater is due to bloom. Spring is mixed with bouts of sunshine and rain. Rejoice in both. The sunshine is a reminder that God hears you and will answer your prayer. Allow the rains of life to nourish you so that your character can bloom. Don’t be discouraged. Summer is around the bend. In the meantime, don’t be too anxious for summer that you miss the beauty of spring; God’s careful attention to grooming you, cutting away the weeds, fertilizing your soil, watering your spirit, re-potting you and moving you to a place of more sunshine so that you can grow as full as he ordained. Rejoice in the tedious process for summer is coming!
Bishop Noel Jones of City of Refuge visited West Angeles with a dynamic sermon entitled, “I’m Not Built to Break.” He begins with history, “Israel would not walk across the principles of God so the Lord raised up nations to bring them back to the confines of his word…but when that happened people thought it was a war of gods not realizing that it was GOD guiding them back to him…”
“When are you not going to worry about tomorrows?” Bishop asks. “Satan will use your mind to hold things against you, but what God wants to do is use HIS SPIRIT to talk to our minds and tell us that we are not driven from the outside, but that we are driven from the inside. And when we stand up with what’s inside, what’s outside has GOT TO BOW DOWN!”
Here are the: Seven Last Words of Jesus as recorded in the Gospel from Luke to John.
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”
26When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” 27and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?“—which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”—which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.”
6. John 19:30 (New International Version)
When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head
and gave up his spirit.
Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.
Stay tuned for our Good Friday Service and Resurrection Sunday Service that will be streamed live HERE!
“Oh Death where is your sting?” Death is just the doorway to stay with the eternal Father. As long as God lives resurrected in our lives we can live free from fear.
My favorite part of the movie “The Passion of the Christ” is when Jesus carries His cross and falls, and His mother runs up to him, overcome with concern for her son. She tries to help him, but he looks at her and says, “Look, mom, I make all things new.” Jesus knew his death was a means to an end. He knew that His end was already victorious. He trusted His Father in heaven. He trusted His Father’s will, power, capability, strength and love for Him. Death is considered finality, but it shouldn’t be to the believer. We know that death is the means to live eternally with Christ. The death of friendships, jobs, relationships, health, and all things in our lives that we hold so dearly are not final for the God who raised Lazarus from the grave simply by willing it to be. Those things are not final for the Jesus that defeated death with all power in His hands. There are situations in our lives that are on the brink of death and we hold on for dear life, but we must remember Hezekiah, who was instructed to get his house in order because he was going to die, turned his back to the wall and prayed to God, and fifteen years was added to his life.
When it is not in God’s will to resurrect certain things in our life, this is when you should look out for the hand of God. Something great is coming. When Jesus died, he cancelled out a contract of death and damnation for all His children. Salvation could not have been accomplished any other way. I sincerely believe that if there were another way for God’s children to be saved, it would have been done. I also believe that God allowing His only son to be killed in exchange for eternity spent with us was a way to prove his undying and radical love for us, His adopted children.
Death is not a sentence that should intimidate or bring fear to our lives. It is a means to a new lifestyle, a new habit, or a new relationship. We are outside the laws of death. The Bible says, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1-2 When death happens in your life, believe that it is in the will of Christ concerning your life and remember that you are outside of the law of death and damnation, and you now rest in the hand of Jesus, which promises that he will withhold no good thing from those that love Him and keep His commandments and all things work together for the good of those that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.