It was very early in the morning and three women who probably wept and didn’t sleep all night came to the tomb of Jesus. Each of the gospels recall the event but in John’s gospel he focuses on Mary’s personal encounter with Jesus.
We find Mary weeping outside the tomb and 2 angels ask her why she was weeping and she replies:
John 20: 13 “She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.”
The story continues in verses 14 and 15:
14 “Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?”
Mary didn’t recognize the man speaking to her - she thought he was the gardener
John 20:15b “She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.”
Then everything changes when “Jesus said to her, “Mary!”
Yes, everything changes when He calls your name. Does He call us by name? Isaiah answers that question with a resounding yes.
Isaiah 43:1 “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine.”
Once Jesus calls Mary by name her weeping is turned into joy, her hopelessness is turned to hope and she goes from being a mourner to being a messenger.
John 20:18 “Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her.”
I promise you he calls each and everyone of else by name because HE LOVES US…
As I have been musing over this Donna tells me about a song. Please give it a listen.
Today our church met at 10:00 because of the leadership of Lisa Mello (senior pastor Tom Mello) she had called for a morning of prayer for our city, state, our nation and the nations of the world and an opportunity to go out and touch our city.
Normally when there is a call for prayer the response isn’t what you would like to see but not so this morning and it was a Saturday in June. There was time of worship and then an open microphone for people to come and pray. That can be a dangerous proposition allowing anyone to come and pray but again it was powerful with different people praying. As Ps Tom was sharing at the end I had to leave.
But I had an opportunity to pray as well and I wanted to share with you the things I saw and prayed. During worship I saw an angel at the door handing out tickets. I’m saying to myself why is an angel handing out tickets? Then I was reminded that yesterday when I was cleaning my garage I threw away an old broken down grass seeder/fertilizer spreader. The ticket was for each of us to pick up a new grass spreader on the way out. A grass spreader is used to spread new seed and the Lord said our old way of spreading seed (see Matthew 13 parable of the sower) needed to change. The old methods we used were effective in the past but He has a new way/strategy to sow seed.
It was also during this time of prayer and worship when I just felt that the Spirit was saying there are no answers down here but there are answers in heavenly places.
The following are the verses that came to my mind and I shared this morning:
3. Isaiah 64:1 “Oh, that You would rend the heavens! That You would come down! That the mountains might shake at Your presence”
And finally the cry that fills my heart: We will look to you and cry out for mercy/for your intervention.
4. Psalm 123:1-2 (AMPC) ”Unto You do I lift up my eyes, O You Who are enthroned in heaven. 2 Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, and as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God, until He has mercy and loving-kindness for us.”
Yes, there are no answers down here but you have all the answers we need. Father, rend the heavens and pour down.
I asked the Lord what do you want me to write about and then I heard “it was just one thought.”
He showed me the destiny of all mankind was altered because of just one thought. Think of it? The coarse of all mankind was changed because Adam and Eve didn’t take the thought that Satan gave them captive.
Satan said to them - it was such a simple thought
Eve was able to quote what God had said to them but unable to live it
I think it’s easier to quote a bible verse than to actually live it out.
God made very clear his expectation and direction to Adam and Eve. They just had to refuse the thought Satan gave them. They didn’t.
Unfortunately we are like Adam and Eve we get thoughts all the time that are in direct contradiction to what we know isn’t within the will of our Father. Paul gives us the key to what we should do when we get thoughts and feelings that oppose God’s word.
Paul says that we have a spiritual weapons that can defeat Satan’s lies, misinformation and we can take every thought that barrages us on a daily basis captive. Our Father wouldn’t have said that we can take every thought captive if it wasn’t possible.
Imagine all the thoughts that we have had that has created so many problems and difficulties. Oh my, what a mess.
In seeing this and writing this I feel challenged to make a greater effort to capture every thought and emotion. Because what we think is what live out. Our destinies can be shaped by just one thought.
It was just one thought…
Many of you know and perhaps many of you don’t know that in March of 2017 I gladly transferred my role as the senior pastor into to the hands of Ps Tom and Lisa Mello. Truth be told they were all ready doing the job. Since that time the church has flourished.
I stepped aside because I was traveling a fair amount in particular to different countries like Haiti, Dominican Republic, Romania, Modolva, Canada, India and some churches here in the States and it was simply time. My travel schedule for 2020 was to all the above going more than once to many of them (several times to Romania) and my adding Africa and Brazil. After my trip to Dominican Republic in January, a canceled trip to Romania and my trip to India in March I have been home.
I was scheduled to be away 2 weeks each month of April, May, June and July ( every month but December) and then the coronavirus attacked every nation. Just yesterday I went to the US Embassy website to check out the policies of several nations that I am to travel to. I discovered that every country is not allowing people like myself to enter their country through July and it appears that this will continue through the fall.
During the time since my quarantine in March after my trip to India what have I been doing? Well, our church bought a building and I have been blessed to work there primarily cleaning carpets and painting. Doing whatever I could, As of a week or so ago we are finished at least for now. So now what?
After discovering I wouldn’t be traveling yesterday because the borders are closed. I sat down and asked the Lord now what? One of the blessings of not traveling I have been able to take the support of those still sacrificing to give to pay down on the debit I incurred for my last 2 trips. By the grace of God and people supporting me I travel to churches at my own expense. So very thankful for people sowing into the nations of the world and into my life.
As I sat with the Lord and said now what my mind was filled with “I can’t.” I can’t do this, I can’t do that. It wasn’t too far into my time with the Lord I realized I had “limited thinking.” As I thought about this again this morning I became aware that many of us have been held captive since the coronavirus pandemic invaded our shores in March. What a great tool of the devil to render God’s people in active.
Well, its time to to eliminate “limited thinking from our lives.” Our Father has all these creative ideas and concepts that have been stored in heaven for all of us and he is waiting for us to come and make some withdrawals. We have been being robbed and it’s time we disrupted the devils scheme. I am confident that if we pray and seek God we will see the fulfillment of the following verse.
The promise is he wlli show us. He will crush our limited thinking. Yes, there are all kinds of amazing ideas reserved in heaven. Let’s go get them.
Limited thinking or heavenly thinking?
Have you ever been so discouraged that you just wanted to give up and you would have “but God” somehow brought you through? Have you ever been so depressed that you thought there was no way out “but God” shows up and made a way? Have you ever been so hopeless that you couldn’t find hope any where - “but God” showed up.
Have you ever found yourself so far in debt that you were about to lose your house and you were about to - “but God” provided at the last moment? Have you found yourself in the hospital and the doctors tell you probably won’t recover - “but God” even shocked the doctors? Has your life been threatened and wondered if you might lose your life - “but God” moved circumstances and the threat was removed?
Have you ever lost all of your friends because of your convictions - “but God” found a way to sustain you when you were all alone. Have you been betrayed by people you trusted and the pain was so deep - “but God” shows you how he was betrayed and how we are to follow how he dealt with it.
Have you been so confused not knowing what to do - “but God” brings clarity and your confusion is disbursed. Have the words of others so crushed you that you didn’t want to get out of bed - “but God” shows up in your bedroom and you are able to forgive. Has your pastor hurt you and you said I’m dome with church - “but God” puts his arms around you and restores your desire to go back to church.
Yes, our God is able to restore when we think he can’t because He is our Shepard that fulfills:
When darkness and despair overwhelm us he is there:
Yes, we have times of great sorrow and we wonder will we ever laugh again but God’s promise is:
Let us remember and declare:
When we need a but God I remember: GOD IS FOR ME - FOR YOU
Yesterday people were sending me birthday wishes it was so encouraging that people would take the time to acknowledge my birthday, Along with the gracious birthday wishes there were a few comments that were made mentioning something that I taught and shared probably 30 years ago and how it impacted their lives.
Those brief comments filled my soul with such incredible joy and it so profoundly encouraged me that all the years in ministry was worth it. It made want to continue serving the Lord and His people.
Truly the meaning of Proverbs 18:21 came alive
As I am writing this there is this joyous voice inside of me saying,“it was worth all the sacrifices, hardships, mistakes, turmoil, disappointments, etc.
We read Paul what writes to the church of Thessalonica:
There are a number of other verses in the Bible that speak to encouraging one another. If I want to be honest it has only been the last few years that I have consciously tried to encourage people. It goes along with assigning value and honor to each person while attempting to unearth the buried treasure in each person.
They have proven scientifically that words of encouragement that are spoken change the chemistry make up of our blood.
How do we feel when people speak to us using negative words? How do we feel when people speak to us using words of encouragement?
While considering those questions why don’t we establish the “encouragement challenge?” What’s that? It’s where we attempt to eliminate discouraging/negitive speech from our live
“And never let ugly or hateful words come from your mouth, but instead let your words become beautiful gifts that encourage others; do this by speaking words of grace to help them.” The Passion Translation (TPT)
What if we challenged ourselves to be encounters not discouragers? We will be theses and daughters that are breathing life. Are you in?
Our lives can change in a moment. The question is how do we respond to each moment? Life is filled with countless moments…
On Thursday I was coming home from the church and a young lady decided to change lanes and side swiped my car. A month ago Donna who has been a real health advocate - eating low fat, not much red meat, exercising had a mild heart attach. Then she has had a very poor response to the medication they put her on.
Yes, our lives are filled with moments. There are tragedies, loss of life, poor health, loss of income, crisis with our children, sudden and painful break down in relationships, misunderstandings, conflict with our church and the very real attacks of the devil that continually undermines our faith, our hope, our potential. Oh yes, there are moments of joy, exuberance and breath taking occurrences.
Perhaps the challenge is how do we respond or react to each moment? I would venture to say most people react rather than respond. Unfortunately when we react we often set in motion things that we have to undo or maybe they can’t be undone.
Father, I pray that you would be the Lord of each and every moment of our lives. I pray that you would capture each of our moments and fill us with the grace and wisdom of your heart and presence.
Here is some insight from James:
James 4:13-15 (NLT) “Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” 14 How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. 15 What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.”
Jesus help us capture and celebrate each moment with your heart…
My heart and I believe your hearts are in turmoil over the state of affairs here in the United States. I believe we all can better identify with Nehemiah as he is overwhelmed with grief as he gets word what is happening in his country of Israel.
As you recall Nehemiah is in captivity in Persia as the cupbearer to the king. One day some people come from Jerusalem and Nehemiah as about the condition of Israel and the people who had just returned home from captivity.
Verse 3 was their response:
After hearing the report we see the impact it had on Nehemiah in verse 4.
For several days he wept and mourned. Does this capture how you have been feeling? Something has to be done. We have to go beyond pointing fingers and complaining. Nehemiah decided to pray and fast. Perhaps that is what we should consider doing?
On Sunday Ps Tom’s wife Lisa announced that next Saturday, June 27 our church will be hosting a time of prayer for our community and our nation. You are welcomed to join us. If not I am going to set a day aside next week to fast and pray. I am unsure of which day but I’ll let you know if you are interested.
More than ever the verse below should be applied more than just quoted.
I can’t begin to tell you the hours I have spent thinking about no crying out to the Lord that each and every person would reach/fulfill the potential that is buried inside them.
It was this afternoon and I was working in my yard and so my faces came to my mind and I just wanted to cry because I could see “buried treasure” inside of them. I prayed that somehow that they would be catapulted into their tomorrows.
There are numerous reasons why we don’t reach or potential. You can probably make your own list. Here are a few:
This is your hour. It’s time to take a leap of faith. It’s time to shed the chains that have held you back. Your place in the Kingdom God awaits you. I just saw a bunch of angels with cheerleading pom pom’s, They are cheering, “you can do it,”
Pastor Brian R. Weeks began ministering in 1972 and has served as a pastor to both youth and young adults. He also served as an associate pastor for eleven years, and then for 25 years as a senior pastor, apostolic missionary, and church planter. In March of 2017 he released his church Solomon’s Porch, but in order to remain part of the local church, continues to serve among its several pastors.