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April 24, 2017

Risen Power Within

Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

But very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. They found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. So they went in, but they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus.”

Luke 24: 1-3 (NLT)

It was about seventeen years ago now, that I traveled to Scotland for a week of golf on some of the historic courses of the game. What made the trip especially memorable for me was that I went with my precious son, Nathan, as the two of us joined seven other father-son pairings. Throughout the week we traveled the Scottish countryside and played courses across Scotland, including where golf began at the famous Old course in St. Andrews, Scotland.

While in St. Andrews, Nathan, being who he is, arranged a memorable moment for both of us as he walked us one evening out on the beach nestled between the first fairway of the Old Course and the body of water called the Firth of Forth. Nathan informed me that we were standing on a stretch of beach where some scenes from one of my favorite movies of all time “Chariots of Fire,” were filmed.

There’s one scene in that movie which takes place at the conclusion of a track and field event, where Eric Liddell, one of the central figures in the story, is speaking in the rain against a backdrop of dark clouds and umbrellas, to a group of spectators who have gathered to hear him share after he had competed in the track meet.

As the rain falls unceasingly on the gathering assembled on the now-quiet track, he compares faith to running in a race, as he proffers something for them to think about—

Where does the power come from to run the race?” (more…)

Posted by: Scott Whitaker at 6:00 am
Filed under: Thoughts

April 17, 2017

Easter—Alone? Never!

Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and everything to live for, including a future in heaven—and the future starts now!

1 Peter 1: 3, 4 (The Message)

He was all alone.

There were people all around Him—lining the streets as He slowly dragged the cross toward the hill at Calvary—but He really was all alone.

There were some who were watching this spectacle who were supportive of Him, who followed Him—some women actually—but most of those you would have thought He could count on at a time like this—His disciples for instance—had taken off for the woods when the temperature got turned up too high.

And so, He was all alone—all the way along the route to the Cross, when He was nailed to the Cross, and as He was lying lifeless in the Tomb.

All alone. (more…)

Posted by: Scott Whitaker at 6:00 am
Filed under: Thoughts

April 10, 2017

A Torn Curtain—Direct Dialing

Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, He gave up His spirit.

At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life.”

Matthew 27: 50-52 (NIV)

Outside my upstairs window it is a beautiful morning.

The morning following what we recognized yesterday in the Christian church as Palm Sunday. Palm Sunday, of course, is that day which marks the entry of Christ into Jerusalem riding on a donkey, and the beginning of that last week of Christ’s life here among us on earth.

The last week, appropriately referred to as Passion Week, of Christ’s mission and ministry among us.

A week in which He was unfairly judged, wrongly condemned, harshly whipped and ridiculed and eventually horrifyingly crucified on a hill called Calvary.

And it is also a beautiful morning as the sun is shining, with a light breeze cool air blowing through the trees.

In a few days, on Friday of this week, we will pause to remember a moment that seemed less than beautiful, where over two thousand years ago the sky darkened and the air turned cold as Christ hung on the cross at Calvary bleeding, dying and forgiving, all while breathing His last breaths on this planet for you and for me.

It’s the day we call Good Friday, marked by the fulfilment of numerous prophecies from hundreds of years earlier, in moment after moment of that week leading up to and through Christ’s crucifixion and death.

The writers of the four Gospels note many things which occurred during that Passion Week and on that remarkably breathless Good Friday, including what have been noted as the seven last words of Christ. But arguably nothing they witnessed and recorded is more poignant or relevant to our lives today than that scripture verse which is set out above.

As the passage states, as Christ cried out and breathed His last, the writers of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke all wrote that…

At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.”

Matthew 27: 51a (NIV)

Traditionally in the temple, there were two curtains hanging which were separating three main parts of the temple—the outer courts, the holy place where only the priests could enter, and the most holy place, reserved for only God Himself. It is most likely that the curtain referred to in that verse as being torn in two, was the curtain hanging between the holy place and the most holy place—also called the Holy of Holies.

The Holy of Holies was the place within the temple where the Jews believed they could not go—as being sinful and undeserving—as it would lead into the presence of a holy God. Only the high priest could enter into the Holy of Holies, and only once a year to carry a sacrifice on behalf of the entire Israelite nation, and seeking forgiveness for each person within that nation.

But now through the death of Christ on the Cross for each of them, and us, we can enter into the presence of God—directly into the Holy of Holies so to speak. Now, with the tearing of that curtain—through and only through what Christ just did for us on the Cross—it opened the way for each of us to have direct access to a holy and loving God.

Think about that for a moment—no longer does anyone have to be called upon to intervene for us before God. Christ has done that—and because of that we can approach our God directly.

Now, no one is required to ask God for the forgiveness of our shortcomings—our sins. Christ has done that for us, and because of that we approach God ourselves, confess our shortcomings and mistakes, receive His forgiveness, and press on into a brand new day with Him.

Through what Christ did for us on the Cross, no one needs to dial up God for us, or to speak for us before a Holy God. We can each dial Him up directly. Christ has done that for us and continues to intercede on our behalf—with our heavenly Father. And we are able to approach God directly with our thanks, our concerns, our frustration and questions, as well as with our requests.

Pretty amazing moment—

At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.”

Pretty amazing God!

A God who loves you, and a God who loves me.

In His Name—Scott

Copyright 2017. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved.

Posted by: Scott Whitaker at 6:00 am
Filed under: Thoughts

April 3, 2017

With Him—Persevere

Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!”…

Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” John 12: 12-13 & 27-28 (ESV)

So what do you do when you can’t do anymore?

How do you move forward when your legs are too tired to lift?

What’s next when you’ve fallen and failed yet again at something at which you thought you would be good?

What do you look forward to when all hope seems to be gone?

What do you do and why bother, when you feel all alone?

I would suspect in any of those situations, perseverance is not one of your first thoughts.

I don’t know what last week was like for you, or what this week is shaping up to be, but I suspect if you haven’t been faced with any of those situations I posed above—you and I—or someone we know and love—will be facing some or all of them sometime and somewhere in the future? (more…)

Posted by: Scott Whitaker at 6:00 am
Filed under: Thoughts
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