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Faith

#HappyEaster: Never, Never again be Afraid!

Text: Matthew 28

When the women arrived at the ancient cemetery on the dawn of the Sabbath, they were greeted not by a cold, sealed tomb but by an angel, relaxing in the morning sunshine on the stone that had been rolled away!

When the women arrived at the ancient cemetery on the dawn of the Sabbath, they were greeted not by a cold, sealed tomb but by an angel, relaxing in the morning sunshine on the stone that had been rolled away!

And what were the words of this angel?

“Do not be afraid!”

Let’s travel back in time about 33 years before this Resurrection morning when an angel was sent from heaven to announce the birth of Jesus. What did that angel say?

“Do not be afraid!”

When God arrives on the scene of our lives, He comes to take away all fear. Jesus lived and died to deal with your fear issues! If you are bound by fear, be set free today by the Savior Who could not be held by death!

The sealed grave, this Easter morning, was not opened to let Jesus out but to let the adoring women in. As these women, who were the first commissioned to tell the Gospel story, ran in celebration away from the cemetery, they were experiencing both fear and great joy.

Always allow your joy to be greater than your fear! Nothing in your life should be stronger than His joy. The joy those women experienced on that Sabbath morning caused them to fall on their faces in worship.

Some of the disciples worshipped while others doubted. Disciples have the same decision to make today. Will you worship or will you doubt?

Will you get on your face in worship or give into your fear?

The power and authority that Easter heralds should compel us all to go and make disciples. Once you have been told … you must go tell! God’s will for your life, and for my life, is to make disciples in our personal worlds.

The final truth of the Resurrection story is that He really is with you. He will be with you in all your tomorrows. We are sent out on the greatest task in all of History and are assured of the Greatest Presence that has ever lived on heaven or on earth.

“Hosanna!”

Copyright 2013 by Carol McLeod, all rights reserved. Carol McLeod is the founder of Just Joy Ministries, whose mission is to inspire women of all walks of life to engage in a deeper way with the Bible, and to grow in personal relationship with the Lord. 

#PRAYERS

  1. #Personal: I confess today that I will never, ever again allow my fears to triumph over my joy in you – that you rose victorious from the grave. Never again, Risen Lord….in your power and grace I declare, Never again!!! 
  2. #BodyofChrist: What manner of sacrifice, Lord Jesus? What manner of victory, Conquering King? Thine alone be all the glory!!! Make us witnesses of your resurrection power today and always, in Jesus’ victorious name, Amen.
  3. #Nation: May the strange incident recorded in Jerusalem be manifest in our nation today and always – that the proclamation of Christ was not a fairy tale but a true occurrence documented in history and proven true by science, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
  4. #Family: Thank you for the grace to belong to this family.help us to share the power of your resurrection and find strength in one another – that your victory will always be greater, louder, stronger and sweeter in our lives. That must be how you want it, sovereign and victorious King, Amen.
  5. Other extempore prayers…
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Faith

#Lent2016, Good Friday

Text: Matthew 27:1-56

Before his crucifixion, Jesus was scourged. Roman soldiers bared the upper half of his body and tied his hands to a pillar. He was forced to bend double with his spinal column exposed. Then, Jesus was flogged with a 3-pronged whip comprised of three leather thongs connected by pieces of bone and metal on a chain.

Scourging or flogging always preceded capital punishment so that the prisoner would be weakened and die more quickly on the cross. The violent lashing of Jesus’ body tore his skin and bared his flesh to the very bone. Many victims died before they even encountered the cross because of the flogging. Many were paralyzed and few remained conscious after this horrific punishment.

After the flogging came the mocking. The soldiers relentlessly, cruelly ridiculed the Son of the God of all creation.

Jesus was too weak to even carry His own cross because his torment had already been taken to the utmost limits. There was little life left in His precious Body as He reached the top of Golgotha.

The Man Who had turned over tables … held little children on his lap … calmed the storms … and raised the dead … was now bleeding in agony. His lungs were struggling for one more gasp of earth’s atmosphere and His eyes were glazed with vicious pain.

I wonder if the guards could hear the Savior gasping for breath. His mother, who had witnessed His first precious breath, now heard Him breathe His last. She had giggled over His first coos and gurgles, and now had to stand and hear Him fight the pain.

He could have called 10,000 angels at that moment. They would have come to His rescue!

He could have removed Himself from the cross but He chose not to! He chose to contain His power. Why? Why didn’t He save Himself from the mockery of hell itself?

He stayed there for you … because YOU were the joy set before Him. You were on His mind while He hung on Calvary’s cross.

Copyright 2013 by Carol McLeod, all rights reserved. Carol McLeod is the founder of Just Joy Ministries, whose mission is to inspire women of all walks of life to engage in a deeper way with the Bible, and to grow in personal relationship with the Lord. 

#PRAYERS

  1. #Personal: What you did today, thousands of years ago, is the reason I am here. I do not ever want to take these for granted – your love and my salvation. Please help me remember when it matters most and stay grateful forever. So be it, Amen.
  2. #BodyofChrist: Daddy, I ask for your grace upon the church today and always to show the world that we all are alive and saved because of you, what you did on the cross today. May salvation and eternity never elude anyone who sets foot in any place of worship and accepts you as Lord, in Jesus’ Name,  Amen.
  3. #Nation: Jerusalem was different today, especially the hour you died. May our nation be different because of this season and the power of resurrection, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
  4. #Family: As the curtains in the temple tore, help us to tear all that veils your glory in our lives, habits that do not give the Holy Spirit a place and may all our relatives enjoy unrestricted access to you at all times till their lives end – for this reason, you journeyed to Golgotha today. May we grasp the depth of your love, bask in it and share it with everyone we know, with your grace enabling us,that made you embark upon this great journey. May we grasp this, show to our relatives, neighbours and communities, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
  5. Other extempore prayers…
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Faith

#Lent2016, Maundy Thursday

Text: Matthew 26:31-75

Jesus took three disciples with Him to the Garden of Gethsemane. Peter, James and John had been with Him on the Mount of Transfiguration, and Jesus needed them to stand with Him in prayer. But while Jesus prayed … they slept. While Jesus sweat great drops of blood … they snored. While Jesus cried in agony … the three men He trusted were slumbering.

Knowing that He was about to die the violent death of a criminal, they dozed and drooled.

Three times Jesus came to the disciples … and three times they were sleeping.

We become outraged at the seemingly careless actions of Peter, James and John and yet how often have we been caught giving into the twilight of lackadaisical behavior when Jesus calls our name?

We watch television when there are prayers to be prayed.

We read novels when there are people to be loved.

We snore while our culture crumbles.

Just as the Savior needed Peter, James and John … your Savior needs you. He has entrusted you with the power of prayer. He has entrusted you with the Great Commission. He has entrusted you with the Gospel.

In this Garden, Jesus prayed, “Not as I will … but as You will.” Have you ever tried praying that prayer when your life was crumbling? Have you ever prayed, “Father, Your will be done”, when faced with cruel circumstances?

If we learn nothing else from this event in the life of Jesus, we should learn to pray while others sleep and to desire the will of the Father above all else.

When Jesus finally roused the three from their slumber, they had a view in the moonlight of a mob coming up the western slope of Mt. Olive. After the mob, led by Judas, seized Jesus, Peter stayed in the courtyard of the high priest. It was there that Peter denied Jesus three times.

I wonder if Peter would have denied Jesus if he had prayed rather than slept. I wonder how different my life would be if I would pray … rather than sleep.

Copyright 2013 by Carol McLeod, all rights reserved. Carol McLeod is the founder of Just Joy Ministries, whose mission is to inspire women of all walks of life to engage in a deeper way with the Bible, and to grow in personal relationship with the Lord. 

#PRAYERS

  1. #Personal: Daddy, by your grace; I resolve never to sleep when I should be praying or keeping watch. This, I confess, knowing full well it is possible by your grace and trusting in your word (Philippians 4: 19). So be it, Amen.
  2. #BodyofChrist: Help the church not to become more worldly even as the world becomes more churchy. May we not slumber whilst many perish without the knowledge of salvation and may we not deny you, especially when you need us and when it matters most, in Jesus’ Name, Amen. As you washed the disciples’ feet, dying Lord; may we serve one another in humility – always following in your example till our lives’ end, Amen.
  3. #Nation: My Lord and my God, raise your children to save our nation and other nations from destruction. In business, politics, government, and civil society; may your children become Apostles in the Marketplaces – like Peter on the day of Pentecost. May we not sleep when our wealth depletes and/or is devoured too, in Jesus’ Name.
  4. #Family: Help us to be there for one another in love, as you commanded that we love one another; and as Christ loves the church. Today, it was love that made you replace Malchus’ ear; love that kept you calm, love that made you embark upon this great journey. May we grasp this, show to our relatives, neighbours and communities, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
  5. Other extempore prayers…
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Faith

#Lent2016, Holy Tuesday

Text: John 12:1-6, Matthew 26:14-16, Psalms 41

The unanswerable word “Why?!” echoes within my soul as I read the tragic account of the betrayal of Jesus by Judas.

Why?

Judas had spent three years with Jesus! He had seen Him heal bodies, touch broken lives and raise the dead. Judas had heard the Gospel of love.

Why?

Judas laughed and shared life with Jesus. Judas has seen the miraculous multiplication of loaves and fishes … he has seen a once raging sea become calm … and has seen demons flee at the voice of the One Who proclaimed, “Let there be light!”

Why?!

Does Judas even have a heart?!

Judas went to the chief priests … they did not come to him. He went to them.

I have always wondered if Judas betrayed Jesus because of his own addiction. I wonder if Judas was compelled to sell Jesus to murderers because of a compulsion that he was never able to conquer.

Judas was in charge of the money box and it was known among the disciples that Judas often pilfered from the treasury that was meant to be shared. We don’t know if the disciples confronted Judas, or if Jesus confronted him. What we do know is that Judas had an addiction that had never been dealt with.

Judas could have taken his weakness to Jesus! He could have confessed, asked for forgiveness and for power. Instead, the insidious and lethal addiction stayed hidden and thus overpowered the ability of Judas to walk by faith and not by sight.

You may not sell Jesus for 30 pieces of silver but your addictions and issues will cause you to make wrong choices. You will do things that will shame you and lead you down a pathway of remorse and guilt.

Satan will take advantage of your weakness. He did it to Judas and he will do it to you.

Maybe it is time for you to make a choice that Judas never made … go to Jesus. Ask Him for forgiveness and power. You will be amazed at how it will change the end of your story!

Copyright 2013 by Carol McLeod, all rights reserved. Carol McLeod is the founder of Just Joy Ministries, whose mission is to inspire women of all walks of life to engage in a deeper way with the Bible, and to grow in personal relationship with the Lord. 

#PRAYERS

  1. #Personal: I confess my weaknesses (name them) to you today, Lord Jesus! Judas never came to you but I come to you today. Please forgive me. Your word confirms that your strength is made perfect in my weakness and by your stripes on the cross in a few days from now 2,000+ years ago, I am healed. So be it for me, in your mercy and love; Amen.
  2. #BodyofChrist: Teach us as a family to love you even in our weakness and to support each other without destructive criticism and mockery. May we find strength in the confession of our sins, restitution where possible and the confidence to forgive one another and ourselves because you paid the ultimate price at a time like this, in Jesus’ Name.
  3. #Nation: May Nigerians (name actual nationals) find forgiveness in what our fellow brothers have done to hurt us. Help families writhing in pain from terror attacks, ethnic clashes and societal vices to forgive; just as you forgave and died for us all. We know this is tough but in you we can do all things, in Jesus’ Name.
  4. #Family: Daddy, I ask that you help every member of (name your family) to know and walk with you knowing full well that in doing so, we will confront you with our weaknesses each time. You, the only one who can help us overcome them right after forgiving us. In your merciful name, we ask; Amen.
  5. Other extempore prayers…
Categories
Faith

#Lent2016, Holy Monday

Text: Mark 14:1-9

Jesus loved people. He loved the sick and the lame … the prostitute and children. Jesus loved His band of brothers … the 12 whose lives had become so intrinsically a part of His own. Jesus also loved a particular family who had celebrated with Him, had often taken care of Him while He was traveling and with whom Jesus had cried the day that He raised Lazarus, their brother, from the dead.

Understandably, Jesus spent some of His last hours on earth with beloved friends who had become family to Him. These moments were unspeakably dear as he looked lovingly into the faces of those whose names would soon be written not only on His heart but also on His hands. As they were dining together one evening during this final week of Jesus life, Mary, the woman who had spent so much time at the feet of Jesus, came to Him with a family heirloom in her hands.

Mary had spent time at Jesus’ feet in wonder listening to His Word; she spent time at the feet of Jesus in her darkest hour believing that Jesus would perform a miracle; and now she is extravagantly giving at His beautiful feet that will soon be bloodied. Mary broke the alabaster vial and poured the fragrant and costly perfume over the head of Jesus. The amount in this vase was worth an entire year’s wages and yet Mary lavishly poured it over the body of her Savior.

Jesus will die as a criminal; only criminals’ bodies were denied the societal anointing of spices and perfume after death. Mary’s singular act of love saved Him from the disgrace of a criminal’s death. This one quiet woman was so filled with devotion and love that she considered no sacrifice too great for Jesus.

Will you spend heartfelt time with Jesus’ this week? Will you allow your worship to spill over into lavish giving as you contemplate the price that He paid for your life?

Copyright 2013 by Carol McLeod, all rights reserved. Carol McLeod is the founder of Just Joy Ministries, whose mission is to inspire women of all walks of life to engage in a deeper way with the Bible, and to grow in personal relationship with the Lord. 

#PRAYERS

  1. #Personal: I ask my Lord that the lessons of this week do not elude me. Teach me the qualities of Christ, even those that drove Him to the cross to pay the ultimate sacrifice for my sins. Also, I ask (personal request) and that you will answer my prayers so my joy on the resurrection morning will be full. These and many more I ask only in Jesus’ Name.
  2. #BodyofChrist: Teach us Father to make the best of this passion week – in learning, reflecting and deciding to live only for you. That the sacrifice of Christ on Calvary becomes evident in our lives and draws others to the knowledge of Christ’s name and Salvation, in Jesus’ Name.
  3. #Nation: I remember Brussels, Agatu Communities in Nigeria, and all other nations in sorrow at this time. Teach us to hold fast to Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. That your children will not drift from your flock at times like this. Overcome the evils of this world for our sake. All these we ask, for the sake of the one who suffered shame at a time like this, Amen.
  4. Other extempore prayers…
Categories
Faith

#Lent2016, Palm Sunday

Text: Luke 19:28-41, Isaiah 55:6-12

“Hosanna!” was the word that began the most explosive 7 days in all of eternity. Never would there be a week, nor a word, that would so profoundly impact every life in recorded history.

It was Passover week in Jerusalem and nearly 2.5 million people were crowding the streets of this ancient city. All adult Jewish males were required to come to Jerusalem three times a year with Passover being one of those times. What a week for the presentation of a King!

As Jesus rode through the jammed streets, the mass of humanity threw their cloaks on the way ahead of Him. Fittingly, such was the historical way that a population would welcome their victorious king home from battle. This exuberant crowd also cut branches from trees along the way and threw them in front of the King on His donkey. They waved the branches high above their heads as they proclaimed, “Blessed is He Who comes in the Name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” These people were worshippers! They were declaring, “Everything that we have is Yours, Jesus!”

Are you a worshipper?

When Jesus enters our life, our Jerusalem, we must respond with whole-hearted obedience and genuine praise. We must enter into an experience of worship so dynamic that it causes us to sacrifice our comfort and tradition. Has the presence of Jesus Christ caused a genuine stir in your life? Have you responded to His triumphant procession with the reckless abandon of absolute worship? When confronted with the Kingship of Jesus Christ, many of us hold back and refuse to change our style of worship. A genuine experience with the Son of God ought to cause an expression of worship that goes beyond … way beyond … the official structure of acceptable worship.

As we prepare our hearts and lives for His death and resurrection, we must first join with the voices of history and declare passionately and sincerely, “Hosanna in the highest!”

Copyright 2013 by Carol McLeod, all rights reserved.

Carol McLeod is the founder of Just Joy Ministries, whose mission is to inspire women of all walks of life to engage in a deeper way with the Bible, and to grow in personal relationship with the Lord. 

#PRAYERS

  1. #Personal: Father, walk with me please through this journey that I may arrive in a much better position in my relationship with you. Honour your word in my life and may my sacrifice this Lent be acceptable, in Jesus’ Name.
  2. #BodyofChrist: I remember (name any member or group of brethren that come to mind) today and ask for your (request). May he/she/they remember #Lent2016 for good and have testimonies to share, in Jesus’ Name.
  3. #Nation: Lord, I pray for Nigeria (name of country) during this Holy Week and I ask you to take away from this nation, everything that tends to divide us especially corruption. Convert the counsel of wicked men and Ahitophels in this country to foolishness so our leaders will walk in the fear of your power, in Jesus’ Name.
  4. Other extempore prayers…