Today is Good Friday!

In Isaiah 44:6-7, the LORD says,
“And who can proclaim as I do?”

I don’t think any of us are going to argue with God. He says clearly,
“Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel, I am the First and I am the Last; Besides Me there is no God.”Is. 44:6.

But then He says,
“Then let him declare it and set it in order for Me. Since I appointed the ancient people and the things that are coming and shall come, Let them show these to them.”Is. 44:7.

Well, this was done for me – declared and set in order by the names of the ancient people that were appointed by God to tell of things that shall come!
Now that you are completely confused, let me tell you the story. Many, many years ago, I was sitting in church and a Bible teacher by the name of Chuck Messler had us all open our Bibles to Genesis chapter 5.

“Hmmm,” 32 verses of the genealogy of Adam. And Adam lived 130 years and begot a son…so all the days that Adam lived were 930 years, and he died. Etc., etc., all the way to Noah.
“Yawn.” you might be thinking.
Yes, Gen 5 might very well be one of those chapters that you might naturally skip over in your Bible reading – but not anymore!

“Then let him declare it and set it in order for Me. Since I appointed the ancient people…”(Is. 44:7).
Well, it doesn’t get any more ancient than Adam all the way to Noah!

So, the Bible teacher Chuck Messler then taught verse by verse through Gen. 5 ‘declaring and setting in order’ for me? NO! the Bible says for capital ‘M’ Me- for the LORD. You see, the names of the ‘ancient people’ had meanings and the meanings of the names spoke of ‘the things that are coming and shall come.’ as Is. 44:7 proclaimed, because “Who can proclaim as I do?” says the LORD!

So here it is; the ancient name and its meaning, declared and set in order:
Adam = Man,
Seth = Appointed,
Enosh = Mortal,
Cainan = Sorrow,
(maybe it was a tragic delivery?)
Mahalaleel = Blessed
Jared = Descended, or Shall Come Down,
Enoch = Teaching
Methuselah = His Death Shall Bring,
(very interesting that it was to be that at his death there shall be judgement which was the Great Flood, and he actually is the longest living man recorded in history, nine hundred and sixty-nine years; a true example that God is l-o-n-g-s-u-f-f-e-r-i-n-g!)
Lamech = Despairing, (another interesting name!)
Noah = Comfort

Can you see it? Can you see the cross in Gen 5?
Man Appointed Mortal Sorrow (but the) Blessed Descended (or Shall Come Down) Teaching (that) His Death Shall Bring (the) Despairing, Comfort.

His Death Shall Bring,
the Despairing,
Comfort.

Is. 44:7, “And who can proclaim as I do? Then let him declare it and set it in order for Me, Since I appointed the ancient people, And the things that are coming and shall come,
Let them show those to them.”

“For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received:
that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.” 1 Cor. 15:3.

Even as far back in the Book of Genesis!
No one can proclaim as God does! His word is amazing!

And that is why we call it Good Friday, because ‘His death shall bring the despairing, comfort’!
Receive Him.

“But God…” Two simple words, but oh, such power!

“But God who is rich…” Ephesians 2 tells us,
“rich in mercy,…”
not giving us what we deserve – why?
“…because of His great love with which He loved us,”

“But I don’t feel this love.” You might say. “I need a sign. I’ve messed up.”

“But God who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
even when we were dead in trespasses,…”Eph. 2:4.

Don’t you see? Obviously the entire human race has problems. The Bible even says that “There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands;
There is none who seeks after God.” Romans 3:10.
It’s basically saying that we are all lepers, so to speak! We all suffer from leprosy!

You see, leprosy was a disease that began under the skin, out of sight – but then it would spread and move throughout the whole body. Leprosy also destroyed the nerves so that there would be no feeling left, kind of like the sin that comes in and takes over and makes us ‘without feeling’ (Eph 4:17-19). Leprosy caused separation and was incurable. Our sin is like leprosy. Now,this is all bad news-who wants to read more bad news. It is true, “The wages of sin is death,”Romans 6:23,
but that is not the end – “but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 5:8 says,”But God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners,”…,not after we got it all together – no, that would not be good news at all because it would depend on us. ‘But God…’, don’t you see?

“I’m not seeing it,”some might say.
Well, God draws a picture that is quite vivid,
you’ve got to see this great demonstration tucked away in the book of Leviticus chapter 14.

Lev.14:1, “Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
“This shall be the law of the leper for the day of his cleansing…”

“But wasn’t leprosy incurable?” Yes, but God…
“And the priest shall go out of the camp, and the priest shall look;…”Lev. 14:3.
Yes, because of our sin,(mostly selfishness), I mean leprosy,that begins unnoticed then shows itself outwardly, then we become separated from God and others – but who comes out to meet us?
Jesus does.
Lev. 14:4, “then the priest shall command to take for him who is to be cleansed two living and clean birds, cedar wood,
(do you think of the wooden cross?),
scarlet,( the blood shed upon it),
and hyssop,” the bush that the Israelites used to apply the blood to the doors at Passover and the angel of death then ‘passed over’ that door.

“And the priest shall command that one of the birds be killed in an earthen vessel over running water.”
Just as Jesus came from heaven to be a man,(an earthen vessel), and the running water is the water of the word that proclaims,1 Cor. 15:3,“For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures.

But that is not the end of the story!
Lev. 14:6,7,
“As the living bird, he shall take it, the cedar wood and the scarlet and the hyssop, and dip them and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the running water.
“And he shall sprinkle it seven times on him who is to be cleansed from the leprosy, and shall pronounce him clean,
and shall let the living bird loose in the open field.”

Just as a very old hymn reminds us as well,
“Now indeed I find, Thy power, and Thine alone,
can change a leper’s spots and melt a heart of stone.”
Jesus paid it all –
and
“Nothing good have I where by Thy grace to claim –
I’ll wash my garments white in the blood of Calvary’s lamb!”

But God! “As the living bird, he shall take it, the cedar wood and the scarlet and the hyssop, and dip them and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the running water. And he shall sprinkle it seven times on him who is to be cleansed from the leprosy, and shall pronounce him clean,

and shall let the living bird loose in the open field.”

1 Cor 15:4,5, …”that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.”

Jesus paid it all. Believe in Him, you will be clean.
No more, “But…
“But God who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
even when we were dead in trespasses,
made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
and raised us up together…”Eph 2:4-6 –

…”and shall let the living bird loose in the open field.” Lev. 14:7.

So many lessons in just one little story! Worship God, walk carefully!

Reading again that very familiar story, in Ex. 3, I must share it with you:
“Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.”
Let’s see, Moses is in the back side of the desert.
Do you know what that feels like? Maybe not physically, but emotionally, yes. And even spiritually, you might feel ‘dried up’, or even financially, parched. This is where Moses was. “But he came to Horeb, the mountain of God.”

This makes me think of the Psalm 121, “I will lift up my eyes to the hills – From whence comes my help? My help comes from the LORD, Who made the heaven and earth.”

Yes, I hear the Lord say so much in this verse, “But he came to Horeb, the mountain of God.” I hear Him say, “Be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5.

And that is exactly what we can see as the story continues:
Exodus 3:2, “And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush burned with fire, but the bush was not consumed.”

Is Moses feeling as if he is ‘put on a shelf’? Is he discouraged because there is nothing going on here in the back side of the desert – but all of a sudden “the Angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush, but the bush was not consumed.”

This brings to mind so many scriptures that God has given me in the past, scriptures that God perhaps wants you and me to have settled deep withing our hearts,
“For it is God who commanded light to shine out of darkness who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure, (which is Jesus, which is the fire burning), in earthen vessels, ( or our own broken lives, or measly little bushes!), that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.” 2 Cor. 4:6,7.

And to think that the bush was not consumed. Doesn’t that make you think of Paul’s writings in 2 Corinthians 4:8-10?,
“We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed – always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.”

Just an old dried out bush in the back side of the desert, shining ever so bright with the Angel of the LORD appearing in the form of fire – and the bush was not consumed!

And this is my favorite part:
“Then Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.”Exodus 3:3.

I have recently learned that the word ‘worship’ in the Greek comes from a word meaning, ‘to turn toward and kiss.'(proskuneo).
Could God possibly be showing you and me today, in this most familiar story, that while Moses was for years in the back side of the desert, seemingly ‘put on a shelf’, that the LORD was with him,and has a plan.
Just like Jeremiah 29:11,
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a future and a hope.”
And not only that – but Moses chose to turn aside and…and to let us all know his desire, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.”

Yes! It is today, that God has shown me through this simple story so many of the truths He wants me to hold on to. Don’t you see it?
The bush does not burn! Why?
Because Lamentations 3:22-23 tells us why,
“Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.”

I believe Moses worshiped the Lord.
Oh, how we need to worship Him.

“Oh come, let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker. for He is our God,
And we are the people of His pasture,
and the sheep of His hand.” Ps. 95:6,7.

So the story continues, ex. 3:4,“So when the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” and he said, “Here I am.”

God speaks to us in these stories, specifically.We have become witnesses ourselves, and in Is. 43:10. God speaks, “You are My witnesses,” says the LORD, and My servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He…I, even I am the LORD.”

And God speaks to Moses in Ex. 3:5, “Then He said, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.”

All I know is that when I am bare footed, I have to walk real carefully!
Today I will worship God for His steadfast love and walk carefully.

“For this is the love of God…” 1 John 5:3.

What does the rest of the verse say? Can you guess?

“For this is the love of God,”…
that He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in mercy? Even though this is all true about God, that is not the completion of this powerful verse.

“For this is the love of God…”
that He laid down His life for us? Even though this is totally true about our Lord Jesus, these are not the words that complete this verse.

“For this is the love of God,”…
that a leper worships Him saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” That “Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Even though this is Jesus, willing to touch and love the outcast, it is not what follows these words.

What is the completion of this verse?

1John 5:3 tells us,
“For this is the love of God,…
that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.”
“But I can’t keep His commandments. This just makes me overwhelmed!” You might say.

We have to remember that the Law of God was hand written by Himself for us, His children. And the tablets of stone that His Law were written on were broken,remember that? Exodus 32:19. God wrote them again. Exodus 34.
And He told them where to ‘keep’ them – in the tabernacle. Remember the Psalm that said, “I will abide in Your tabernacle forever.” Psalm 61:4.

Well, check out where they were ‘kept’.

“And you shall put into the ark (the ark of the covenant, not Noah’s ark!) the Testimony, ( the 10 commandments), which I will give you.” Exodus 25:16.

OK, so we can see that they are ‘kept’ in the ark, the ark of the covenant.
Come and look at this most fascinating piece of furniture ever built!
(Ask my kids, I love the furniture in the tabernacle – but the ark of the covenant – amazing!)

Here is God’s word: Exodus 25:10,
“And they shall make an ark of acacia wood;…”

Acacia wood is a tree that grows in dry ground.

“Hmm, OK, where is the fascinating part,” you might be thinking.

The prophet Isaiah in Is. 53:2 wrote about the Messiah that He would be a “root out of dry ground.” He was human, born of man.

“…And you shall overlay it with pure gold, inside and out you shall overlay it, and shall make on it a molding of gold all around.” Ex. 25:11.
Covered with pure gold, meaning Deity, He was God, born of the Holy Spirit.
The ark of the covenant is a picture or a shadow of ‘the true’.

Can you see it now? Can you see Jesus? Can you see that He alone has kept the Commandments of God. We all fall short. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23), but Jesus keeps the commandments.

How can I be encouraged knowing that I cannot keep the commandments of God?
Because they are kept perfectly ‘in Him’.
For it please the Father that ‘in Him’ all the fullness should dwell.Col. 2:19.

Do not be discouraged by your failures to follow the Law, discouragement is not from God. Haven’t you heard?

“And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled…

take this in and ponder this truth,

“…He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, (acacia wood= flesh;gold=God; blood sacrifice for all sin, yesterday, today, forever;) to present you holy, and blameless, and irreproachable in His sight –Colossians 2:22.

“For this is the love of God,
that we keep His commandments.
And His commandments are not burdensome.”

But how can that be? “I cannot do this Christian stuff”, you might say.
Yes, you can!
“For whatever is born of God
overcomes the world.”
“And this is the victory that has overcome the world –
our faith.”

So here is the bottom line,
you CAN overcome –
“Who is he who overcomes the world,
but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” 1John 5:3-5.

Are you an outcast? Do you feel distant from God because of failure over sin?
He is the only One who can ‘keep’ the Commandments. Ask Him ‘in’, believe ‘in Him’, moment by moment He will show you the way – only believe.
“And this is the victory that has overcome the world –
our faith.”

Is your heart overwhelmed. Let Him lead you… to the Rock

How do you spell, OVERWHELMED?
Do you know someone who is going into an infusion room to get chemo to destroy their cancer and a lot of other good stuff in their body as well?
Most likely, yes.
Or do you watch someone who has to deal with chronic pain every day or even paralysis? Maybe, yes.
Or do you know someone who is behind bars because they love Jesus? Yes, we do.
Do you know someone praying for a prodigal for more than a decade? Is that what they mean by ‘long-suffering’?
And are you comforting someone who has just lost a child. Or do you find yourself a widow? Is that person you?
And finances? Or lack of them! This is how you spell, OVERWHELMED.

What are we to do when our hearts are overwhelmed?
Psalm 61 shows us how and will even give us the words to pray:

“HEAR my cry, O God; Attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You,
When my heart is overwhelmed;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” Psalm 61:1,2.

Do we get bitter and grow ever increasing angry at God,
“Because you have forgotten the God of your salvation,
And have not been mindful of the Rock of your stronghold,…” Is. 17:10.

Or do we get better? Each and everyday drawing closer to the Rock,
“For You have been a shelter for me,
And a strong tower from the enemy.
I will abide in Your tabernacle forever;
I will trust in the shelter of Your wings.
Selah.” Psalm 61:3,4.

There is a constant battle over which song we will choose to sing.
The Psalm says, “Lead me to the Rock,that is higher than I.”
Follow His lead- He’s got the strength to lead, we simply must follow.

Let His word be a shelter.
He is a strong tower from the enemy.

What does it mean when it says, “I will abide in His tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings. Selah.”

“Selah” means, think on these things. Is this how He plans to lead me to the Rock that is higher than I?
Well, in order to abide in the tabernacle, I must go to Exodus 25 where God gives Moses instructions to build the tabernacle. And to find where the wings are I find myself above the mercy seat, in the Most Holy Place.
“You shall make a mercy seat of pure gold…And you shall make two cherubim of gold…And the cherubim shall stretch out their wings above, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and they shall face one another; the faces of the cherubim shall be toward the mercy seat.”Exodus 25:17, 18, 20.

OK, so right now there are wings and angels and a mercy seat; can this lead me to a Rock that is higher than I?
Exodus 25:21,22. “You shall put the mercy seat on top of the ark,(the ark of the covenant) and in the ark you shall put the Testimony,
(the Law of God-the 10 Commandments) that I will give you.
“And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony…”

“Hmm, no Rock in any of this.” you might be saying.
Did you not hear what God just said to you and to me?
“And there I will meet you…”
God will meet us? Yes, and He will speak with us, above the mercy seat!
In the ark of the covenant are the 10 commandments, but they are covered by a pure gold mercy seat.
God doesn’t set the mercy seat to the side to get to the Law, He tells us,
“And there I will meet you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony…”

The mercy seat with the 2 angels on top is just like the empty tomb with the two angels on top! The mercy seat of pure gold is the finished work of Jesus, He lived, He died, He rose again!

Psalm 61,
“…lead me to the rock that is higher than I …I will abide in Your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings…
Selah.”

The purest gold, a solid rock. He has led us to the mercy seat. “And I will meet you there,” God says. He meets us at the cross.

He has led us to the Rock. He, Himself will meet you and me there,at the mercy seat. This is the song we must sing,
“So I will sing praise to Your name forever…”

On Christ the solid Rock I stand…

“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16.

His name is Jesus, sad hearts weep no more. He has healed the broken hearted, opened wide the prison doors, He is able to deliver evermore.

Selah.

They didn’t run for their lives, instead they walked step by step…

“Do not be terrified.” we hear a still small voice, however, how can we focus on that still small voice when there seems to be an entire Egyptian army coming this way and we feel blocked in by the Red Sea?
How do we not panic and feel terrified?

There might be no ability to pay the many bills that are overdue. What then? We naturally fear? There may be such loss in our life that there is no light only darkness inside. What then? And addiction? There is the fear of not being able to succeed tomorrow. The Egyptian army seems right at your heels to destroy. The natural tendency is, to run! Run for your lives!

So physically, it might be a good idea to go for a long run, but emotionally, we must read the words of God. You scoff, “how can reading a story help me?’
I will tell you, it’s not just a story, it is Power! How do I know?

Because I am just like you, and no, the word did not change my situation – but it changed…me.

‘Faith comes by hearing and hearing by…
the word of God.’ Romans 10:17.

And this is the running you and I must do at a time like this,
to run to the Name of the LORD – for we both know that ‘the Name of the LORD is a strong tower, the righteous run to it and are safe.’Prov. 18:10.

“So now what?” you might ask.

Suffer for a moment and listen to God’s story simple enough even for a child:

Exodus 14:1-4.’Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites to turn back to PiHahiroth. Tell them to camp for the night between Migdol and the Red Sea….The king will think, ‘The Israelites are lost, trapped by the desert.’ I will make the king stubborn again so he will chase after them. But I will defeat the king and his army. This will bring honor to Me. Then the people of Egypt will know that I am the Lord.” The people of Israel did just as they were told.”

God tells them exactly what to do and even tells them that Pharaoh will come after them! Just like He tells us today,
“In this world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33. And here we see obedient children about to go through some very rough times! Rough times does not always mean that there is disobedience!

So here comes the trouble. You already know all of yours, but here comes theirs:
Exodus 14:5-9, “The king of Egypt was told that that the people of Israel had already left. Then he and his officers changed their minds about them. they said, “What have we done? We have let the people of Israel leave. We have lost our slaves!” So the king prepared his war chariot and took his army with him. He took 600 of his best chariouts. He also took all the other chariots of Egypt. Each chariot had an officer in it. The Lord made the king of Egypt stubborn. So he chased the Israelites, who were leaving victoriously. The king of Egypt came with his horses, chariots drivers and army. And they chased the Israelites. They caught up with the Israelites while they were camped by the Red Sea.”

Does this sound a bit like your story? Exodus 14:10,”The Israelites saw the king and his army coming after them. They were very frightened and cried to the Lord for help.”

And, perhaps this might be your song: Exodus 14:11, ‘They said to Moses, “What have you done to us? Why did you bring us out of Egypt to die in the desert? There were plenty of graves for us in Egypt. We told you in Egypt, “Let us alone! let us stay and serve the Egyptians. Now we will die in the desert.”

This is when the temptation to Panic and Run! run for your lives comes in!
But that is not what happened,
“And Moses said to the people, Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today. You will never see these Egyptians again after today. You will only need to remain calm. the Lord will fight for you.”Ex. 14:13,14.

Can you hear the Lord speak to you as well? Well, He is not through speaking,
“And the LORD said to Moses,
“Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward.” Ex. 14:15.

Do you hear that? I am convinced that the person that wrote the Serenity Prayer was inspired by this verse: “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
“Tell the children to go forward!”
“Raise your walking stick,” (this is from the children’s Bible! so appropriate for us, raise your walking stick – just keep walking, don’t grow weary, in due time you will reap if you don’t lose heart!), “and hold it over the sea. The sea will split. then the people can cross the sea on dry land.”

Ex. 14:17,18, “And I indeed will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them. So I will gain honor over Pharaoh and over all his army, his chariots, and His horsemen.”

Don’t miss this,
“The Angel of God usually traveled in front of the Israel’s army. Now the Angel of God moved behind them. Also, the pillar of cloud moved from in front of the people and stood behind them… The cloud made it dark for the Egyptians. But it gave light to the Israelites. So the cloud kept the two armies apart all night.” Ex. 14:19,20.

And you are thinking, “Are you almost finished?”

Outside there were conflicts, inside there were fears, but Nevertheless God:
The children of Israel had walked on dry land in the midst of the sea, but for Pharaoh and his army, “the Lord looked down from the pillar of cloud and fire at the Egyptian army. He made THEM panic.(Emphasis mine) He kept the wheels of the chariots from turning…The Egyptians shouted, “Let’s get away from the Israelites! The Lord is fighting for them and against us Egyptians.”
Ex. 14:25.

End of story, “So Moses raised his hand over the sea. And at dawn the water became deep again. The Egyptians were trying to run from it. But the Lord swept them away into the sea…”Exodus 14:27.

Needles to say, “When the people of Israel saw the great power that Lord had used against the Egyptians, they feared the Lord. And they trusted the Lord and his servant Moses.”Ex. 14:31. And that is what you and I must do. Only we won’t trust in His servant Moses, we must trust in His Son, Jesus.

God will part the Red Sea. Keep moving forward. God has you hedged in, front and back! Just keep walking. Just keep walking.

Do you ever wonder, “Why couldn’t they see?”

Jesus Himself drew near two men traveling to Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. It was the third day after traumatic events happened in Jerusalem. And they were talking about the events.

“What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?” Jesus asked them in Luke 24:17.

Well, the Bible lets us know the name of one of the men, Cleopas,however, it also informs us that their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him. Cleopas then goes on to ask Jesus, (in my paraphrase words,) “Are You from another planet? Don’t you know what’s been going on? Where have You been? Don’t You know the things that are going on?”

At times, don’t we treat God like this as well.Especially when things don’t go the way we thought they should. Maybe Cleopas’s name is mentioned because we are Cleopas.Sometimes, for some reason our eyes are ‘restrained’ and we don’t ‘know Him.
Cleopas was sad about the events, depressed about what was going on, losing heart and losing hope. “Where have You been?” We yell at God, because things didn’t go the way we were hoping, and then we separate ourselves from Him,losing faith, or like these men, leave Jerusalem.

Jesus asks, “What things?” Luke 24:19.

Cleopas answers, …“we were hoping that …Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people…was going to redeem Israel… (but the) ‘chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and crucified Him…Yes, and certain women of our company, who arrived at the tomb early, astonished us. When they did not find His body, they came saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said He was alive. And certain of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but Him they did not see.” Luke 24:19-24.

And that is the story we hear so very often. Maybe you feel like you have ‘tried’ religion and it didn’t work. So you are walking away from Jerusalem so to speak to Emmaus. I am so happy for the story because ‘Jesus Himself drew near them!‘ They were upset about the current events and anxious about the future, and ‘their eyes were restrained so they did not know Him.’

“And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” Luke 24:27.

Do you see this? They are talking with Jesus- Prayer, and they are listening to Him expound the Scriptures -reading His word, but they didn’t see Him…

until,
“Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them.”
Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him…”
Luke 24:30,31.

Cleopas and his friends eyes were opened and they knew Him when He took the bread…

Maybe you have never taken Communion, or perhaps you take it every week, but maybe you have never made it personal, just you and Jesus. Break the bread, and hear the break, chew and know He loves you, even if you mess up over and over again. If you think you just can’t handle things the way they are and your problems abound…
break the bread and know Him.

“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.”Isaiah 53:5.

And the cup? The blood will wash away your stain of sin.
Revelation 1:5, “To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood.”

The end of the story?
“So they rose up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together,
saying,

“The Lord is risen indeed…!”

They returned to Jerusalem, because now they knew the Lord!

He himself has said,
“Do this in remembrance of Me.”
And now we can see why.Their eyes weren’t opened…until they did just that!

Sometimes our song is a cry. Cry out Psalm 86.

Are you in great difficulty? What are we to do when it seems that all is crashing down around us?

Oh, how we cry in the way that Jesus encouraged us to pray,
“Our Father…
give us this day our daily bread…
and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil…”

The temptation to run and fear, the temptation to lose heart, the temptations to believe that You do not hear our prayers –
we cry “deliver us from evil”. Deliver us from the doubts.

And You do.
As we draw near to You, You draw near – somehow there is a stillness.
“Be still, and know that I am God.” Isaiah 44:6.

Do you ever just open the Psalms at times like this, yearning for the answers? But today, He doesn’t give an answer; He gives you and I the words to our prayer:

Ps. 86.
“Bow down Your ear, O LORD, hear me;
For I am poor and needy.
Preserve my life, for I am holy;
You are God.”

And then I think, “O Lord, I am not holy. I miss the mark everyday.” And I hear Your voice ask me, “Have you been washed in the blood of the Lamb?” And I answer, “Yes, Lord. I have received forgiveness of my sin through the sacrifice of my Jesus.”
“Your sins are forgiven you for My name’s sake.” 1John 2:12.

So I cry,
Psalm 86:2b-, “Save Your servant who trusts in You!

Be merciful to me, O Lord,
For I cry to You all day long.
Rejoice the soul of Your servant,
For to You, O Lord,I lift up my soul.
For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive,
And abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.

Do you feel your heart speak these same words to God that David prayed so many years ago? Perhaps these words were written and recorded in this book just for you and for me – for this day. So this is our prayer to You o God,

Ps. 86,
“Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer;
And attend to the voice of my supplications.
In the day of my trouble I will call upon You,
For You will answer me.”
“…For You alone are God.
Teach me Your way, O LORD;
I will walk in Your truth;
Unite my heart to fear Your name.

“I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart,
And I will glorify Your name forevermore.
For great is Your mercy toward me,
And You have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.”

“O God, the proud have risen against me,
And a mob of violent men have sought my life,”

(violent men like Fear, and Doubt, and Anger, and More Doubt),
…”But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, Longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth.
Oh, turn to me, and have mercy on me!
Give Your strenth to Your servant,
And save the son of Your maidservant. Show me a sign for good,
That those who hate me may see it and be ashamed,
Because You, LORD, have helped me and comforted me.”

Thank You Lord, for giving us the words to our prayer. Sometimes, our song is a cry. And today we cry out this Psalm. In Jesus Name,
Amen.

“I hear the Savior say,…”

The Bible tells us to speak to one another in Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual songs. I love this because that does not mean that we are always singing them, even though that is great too, but there are times where we are to simply ‘speak’ to one another in Hymns.

Today, we speak in Hymns.
So, the hymn begins,

“I hear the Savior say, …”

And THAT is as far as it went!

“I hear the Savior say,…”
Am I hearing ANYTHING the Savior has to say, first thing in the morning? Or when everything is hectic at noon? Do I even know my name by the evening, let alone hear the Savior say…”?

Did you and I remember to think when we woke this morning what our Savior says?
“I will never leave you or forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5. Or when we first sit up in our beds, did you and I hear His words, “I am the Lord… (You are ) precious in my sight… and I have loved you.” Is. 43:3,4.

We wake up, especially after Daylight Savings Time, feeling…, that we need…one more hour of sleep. ( Eph. 5:14 speaks as well, “Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead,…)

Oh, but we have to have ears to hear what the Lord has to say! This will make all the difference in the world,(OK, not all the difference in the world – but at least in your world and mine!) THIS is what the Savior says, in a most amazing hymn,
Can you hear Him?

I hear the Savior say,
Thy strength indeed is small,
child of weakness
Watch and Pray-
find in Me – thine all in all.”

Can you imagine if we actually woke up hearing what the Savior says instead of all those others voices that run through our brains? OK, you and I have a lot of needs for this one day ahead,
but our greatest need when it really comes down to it is,

forgiveness-

and our greatest need has been met! Finished. Done! Complete.
“Jesus paid it all!
All to Him I owe.
Sin had left a crimson stain – He washed it white as snow!”

It wouldn’t matter how much money there was in the bank, it wouldn’t matter if we don’t have the best clothes or the prettiest or handsomest face, it wouldn’t matter if so and so doesn’t like us or is critical of our work. Would it matter that our children are not the smartest or most talented? ‘Stuff’ wouldn’t matter as much. Nothing would move us, nothing-
because we remember what our Savior says!

Can you imagine the increased joy in the world if we actually did this consistently? OK, not in the whole world, but at least in yours and mine!

And if we just woke up singing hymns, (or just speaking them, that is just as good),
and had them in our thoughts throughout the day, we would never be without hope:

“Lord, now indeed I find, Thy power and Thine alone,
can change a lepers heart and melt a heart of stone.”

Now, this is power. This is hope. And, I am convinced that this is why we are to speak to one another in Hymns.

What if we are facing our last days on this earth. In Him we have forgiveness of sin, we have hope of eternal life, we might not be able to sing, but we can hear and agree, that we will be singing very soon!

“And now before the Throne, I stand in Him complete
Jesus died my soul to save, my lips shall still repeat,

“Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe.
Sin had left a crimson stain
He Washed it White as Snow!

May we ‘make melody in our heart to the Lord,’ no matter what the day may bring!

Eph.5:18-19, “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation;
but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord…”

Back to the beginning, again and again …

Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God…”

Maybe we’re not at the beginning. Maybe our journey has been hit by a tsunami, (either real or emotional or physical or financial, or a few of the above), or all the above. Either way, perhaps you open the Book at the beginning,

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
“The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep…”(Gen. 1:2). Is this what life feels like now? And you wonder, How? Words like ‘void’ and ‘darkness’ describe all you are inside – so deep and painful, and there’s nowhere to hide.

In the beginning, God even knew, and His word reminds us … He is present through and through …

It’s written in His book, even before the close of verse 2: ” And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” The Spirit of God was there way back then, and the Spirit of God is here right now with you.

Gen.1:3, ‘Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.’

God understands. God knows. We are as ‘deer in the headlights’. We are as sheep:
John 1:5, “And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”

God sends strange people into your life, well, perhaps not the same as John the baptist, but strange, nonetheless, to you – they just seem odd.
And they talk to you about the true Light, but there is something in the way? There is hesitation … there is fright!

Haven’t you known? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning?” Isaiah 40:21.

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name;” John 1:12.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…And the Word became flesh…”John 1:1,14.
Don’t you see? The Word was God, and the Word became flesh.

God is not a majestic mountain, God is not the immense sea, He is the creator of it all! “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” John 1:3.

“The Word was God, and the Word became flesh?” you might question.
God’s Word is Truth. It is time to know the truth and this will set you free – free from insecurity and fear, fear and insecurity. The truth WILL set you free.
“He is the image of the invisible God…For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible,…All things were created through Him and for Him.”Col 1:15,16.
You were created for Him. He is waiting for you.

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.”

When it is really dark, isn’t the first thing that you look for is light?

“I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

And you know His name. You hear it thrown around in crowded stands at frustrating umpires. You hear it shouted here and there and everywhere. You know His name.
You don’t hear them shout names like ‘oh Confusious’. No, because Confusious can not save you – it is true,
“No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.”

“For God so loved you that He gave His only begotten Son…

Are you ready to become His child? Are you ready to believe in His name?
It’s quite easy, if you are ready,
just ask Him.
“Jesus, come and live in me.”
Don’t hesitate to do it – remember, “As many as receive Him, to them He gave the right to become
children

of

God.”

Welcome to the family. You’ve been prayed for, for a long time!