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April 27

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‘Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”’ (Luke 23:42 NKJV).

From: April 27, 2020

WHICH SIDE OF THE CROSS ARE YOU ON?

In the gospel of Luke, it is recorded that Jesus was crucified between two criminals, one on either side. In the crowd watching the crucifixion were certain Jewish leaders who sneered at Jesus saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ.” The Roman soldiers also mocked Him, offering Him sour wine, and saying, “If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself.”
 
Hearing the crowd, one of the criminals joined in, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.” At this, the criminal hanging on the other side of Jesus rebuked him saying, “Don’t you even fear God? We deserve this for we are condemned justly. But this Man has done nothing wrong. Then he turned to Jesus and said, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
 
What was the difference between the two criminals? The first joined the crowd, only speaking to Jesus in a similar manner of mocking. His request included no repentance of sin and it included no statement of faith. Indeed, it was stated as an “if-then” statement, like “If you are the Christ, then prove it by saving yourself and us too.” Jesus did not even acknowledge this man’s request.
 
However, the other criminal rebuked the first, admitting their sin, then turned to Jesus, calling Him, “Lord.” His request was simple, “Remember me.” And Jesus immediately responded to him with this beautiful answer, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
 
The two criminals represent all of humanity. We are all sinners (Rom. 3:23) and deserving of death (Rom. 6:23). Yet, Christ has died for all. Some are like the first criminal who do not look to Jesus by faith and believe. They refuse to confess their sins and look to Him as Lord. While others are like the second criminal. They confess their sin, admitting that they deserve death, yet they cry out to Jesus as Lord and believe in Him for salvation.
 
Which side of the cross are you on? Which criminal are you? It doesn’t matter what you’ve done. It’s never too late to trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior.
 
PRAYER: Dear Father, thank you for Jesus, the Lamb of God that takes away our sins. For we are those who have admitted our sins and recognize our desperate need for a Savior. We have trusted in Jesus as Lord and Savior and now we have been adopted in Your family as Your children. Now, strengthen us to share this Good News with everyone that Jesus saves! In Jesus’ name, amen.

‘The Lord told Gideon, “With these 300 men I will rescue you and give you victory over the Midianites. Send all the others home.”‘ (Judges 7:7 NLT).

From: April 27, 2019

GIDEON’S 300 AND THAT OF LEONIDAS

Centuries before the celebrated Spartan 300 fought the Persians at Thermopylae in 480 BC, Gideon’s 300 won a victory over the Midianites in 1210 BC. Gideon and his 300 men were chosen by God to defeat the marauding Midianites and bring peace to Israel for the next 40 years. But the Spartan 300 died trying to stop the invading Persians. Yet, only 146 years later, the Greeks invaded and conquered Persia under Alexander the Great, bringing Judah under Greek rule. This laid the historical foundation for later Roman rule and the Greek culture present throughout Judea during Christ’s coming and the writing of the Greek New Testament.
 
I wonder, did God choose the Spartan 300 too? Certainly, all things are under His sovereignty.
 
PRAYER: Dear Lord, thank you for your care and concern for all things. We know that your plans cannot be thwarted. We seek to follow your plan for our lives and not our own plans. Strengthen us to do your will today. In Jesus’ name, amen.

“For if these things are done when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?” (Luke 23:31 NLT).

From: April 27, 2018

CHRIST’S FINAL PROVERB
As Christ was being led away by the soldiers to His crucifixion, he turned to the weeping women following Him to offer this proverb. He cautioned them to save their tears for themselves, for if such things could be done unto Him, a green, living and innocent tree, imagine what terrible suffering awaited a dry, dead and guilty tree like Jerusalem. Indeed, within 40 years of Christ’s crucifixion, in the year 70 AD, the Romans completely destroyed Jerusalem, tearing down its Temple and its walls.
 
The Jews had God’s law and the Romans were known for their Roman law and justice, yet they both showed the hypocrisy of human judgment when they conspired together to kill the innocent Jesus. It wasn’t Jesus, but humanity itself that was on trial that day. And humanity was found guilty— guilty of rebellion against God and guilty of killing the Lord’s Anointed. Humanity is the dry tree. Yet, the green tree suffered and died in our place.

“Rejoice in the Lord, you righteous, And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name” (Psalm 97:12 NKJV).

From: April 27, 2017

“Rejoice in the Lord,” not in your circumstances, for they are varied, not in yourself, for you are fickle, but find and express joy in the Lord. For He is unchanging and faithful. And “give thanks” when you remember His “holy name.” For bringing His name to your mind should always result in thanksgiving, for you know His character and His works, and they are always holy and good. So, rejoice and give thanks today in the Lord!

“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises!” (Psalm 98:4 ESV)

From: April 27, 2016

Those who know the Lord should sing joyful songs of praise and make joyful noises with their instruments. Worship is no time to be shy or self-aware. It is a time to focus on the King, giving Him the praise due him. The psalmist uses imperative language to urge our worship: “Make a joyful noise” and “break forth into joyous song!” When was the last time you “broke forth?” Perhaps that’s what many of us need today… a breakthrough. We need a worship breakthrough. Worship that breaks forth through our fear, our worry, our trouble. Worship that lifts our focus from our circumstances to His face. And this command to worship also moves us to carry the gospel to “all the earth,” so that people from every tribe and tongue join us in joyful song. Break forth!

“Away with this Man, and release to us Barabbas” (Luke 23:18 NKJV)

From: April 27, 2015

When Pilate proposed to release Jesus in view of the Paschal pardon tradition, the crowds, incited by the Jewish leadership, called for the release of Barabbas instead. Ironic that the name “Barabbas” should mean “son of the father” in Aramaic. For the One they demanded to be crucified was indeed the Son of the Father. And so, the Righteous One was crucified and the rebellious murderer was set free. What injustice on the part of man! But what mercy on the part of God, that He would give His Son to die in our place!

“Shout to the Lord, all the earth; break out in praise and sing for joy!” (Psalm 98:4 NLT)

From: April 27, 2014

This psalm is a call to worship. It announces God’s victory and coming justice. After inviting believers to shout, sing, and play all kinds of musical instruments, it also encourages the earth itself to join in praise. The rivers are to “clap” and the hills to “sing.” All creatures and creation itself are instructed to join in worship of the Creator. Who will answer this call?

“Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43 ESV)

From: April 27, 2013

This was what Jesus promised the thief on the cross next to Him. Much can be learned from this promise. The simplicity of the thief’s confession: “Jesus, remember me…” is startling. Can it really be so simple? And the immediacy of Christ’s response: “Today you will be with me…” is equally amazing. Jesus accepts the thief as one of His own without interview or resume. He tells him that from now on, starting today, you’ll be with Me.

“Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34)

From: April 27, 2012

I wonder how many of these prayers Jesus has prayed for us? How many times have we attacked or defamed His body without knowledge? Even more troubling, what about when we have knowledge and know better?

“The LORD said to Gideon, “You have too many men for me to deliver” (Judges 7:2)

From: April 27, 2011

God often allows our strength to turn to weakness, so we aren’t confused about who saves. Are you going through a downturn? Turn to God for help. He loves working with those totally dependent on Him.