NCFI Cares: In the Garden with Jesus

With Easter fast approaching and Christians around the world preparing to celebrate the resurrection, the tendency may be to rush past the pain and suffering our Lord endured. He invites us into the garden and into his experience: “My soul is deeply grieved, even to point of death. Remain here and stay awake with me.” (Matthew 36:39). Amidst his anguish and turmoil, we can learn from our Master to steadfastly pray, to endure suffering, and to welcome death as a path to life with him. (Romans 6:8; 8:17). Use the hymn below entitled, “Go to Dark Gethsemane” as a meditation or reflection as we spiritually accompany our Lord through his suffering.

Go to dark Gethsemane,

Christ In Gethsemane

Christ in Gethsemane by Michael D. O’Brien

You who feel the tempter’s pow’r;
Your Redeemer’s conflict see;
Watch with Him one bitter hour;
Turn not from His griefs away;
Learn of Jesus Christ to pray.

Follow to the judgment hall;
View the Lord of life arraigned;
O the worm-wood and the gall!
O the pangs His soul sustained!
Shun not suff’ring, shame, or loss;
Learn of Him to bear the cross.

Calv’ry’s mournful mountain climb
There’ adoring at His feet,
Mark the miracle of time,
God’s own sacrifice complete:
“It is finished!” Hear the cry;
Learn of Jesus Christ to die.

Early hasten to the tomb
Where they laid his breathless clay;
All is solitude and gloom;
Who hath taken Him away?
Christ is ris’n! He meets our eyes:
Savior, teach us so to rise.

GYouTube video: https://youtu.be/vD6tcMroY0A

Hymnal w/ music: https://hymnary.org/text/go_to_dark_gethsemane

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NCFI Cares: Just A Sprinkle

 

I New sproutslive in a part of the United States where there is a distinct difference between the “dry” and “wet” seasons. This is especially true since the past few years have been exceptionally dry and has left my neighboring hills and fields with the barren tundra of cracked dirt and parched grasses.  Thus, when those first drops of rain sprinkled across our thirsty landscape bringing just enough moisture to wet the pavement, the hard dirt gave way to small shoots of grass straining to find the sun. This small amount of moisture awoke the grasses in anticipation of nutrients and growth.

I couldn’t help but make the parallel to the human soul or spirit. Like the drought ridden dirt blown away and grasses with withering roots, a soul and heart can be barren without the nutrients of Christ. Whether it is a blade of grass or a dry soul, a drop is all that is needed to awaken the soul to spring forth in anticipation of the nutrients of a renewed soul.

Many times in the evangelical world we think that a non-Christian heart needs a bucket or river of water to bring growth, not necessarily. All life sprouts anew in response to a sprinkle of water. Imagine the greater miracle when the moisture is the living water of Christ (John 4:14; Rev. 7:17; 22:1).  Don’t worry about bringing the bucket or river of salvation. Just sprinkle God’s love to our drought-ridden communities and watch the fruit of the Spirit bloom!

1 Cor. 3:6 “I planted, Apollos watered, but God caused it to grow.”

Blessings for 2015

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NCFI Cares: Resistant to Hope

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With burning hatred Saul traveled to Damascus seeking to imprison and destroy the radical disciples of the Way. During the journey Jesus miraculously intervenes and blinds Saul. Dazed and confused Saul spends three days in holy darkness amazed by his encounter with the Christ (Acts 9:1-9).

Biblical scholars are confident that Saul had met Jesus before. Even though scripture does not tell us, Saul knew about the labeled “trouble maker” Jesus. It is also quite possible Saul had seen Jesus perform miracles and heard his teachings. Nonetheless, Saul’s heart had remained resistant to the Messiah—Israel’s fulfilled hope. It took a drastic post-resurrection encounter with the All Powerful (Revelation 1:8) to expose Saul’s heart to the true identity of the Messiah.

We all have family, friends, and even colleagues who have closed their heart to the truth of Jesus. Like Saul they may know Jesus, but are blind to the grace and love found in our Savior (2 Corinthians 4:4). Let’s stay steadfast in prayer and love for those who need a powerful encounter to see beyond the man or the myth to experience the tangible hope found in Jesus.

Choose one person you can bring the love of Christ to.

Grace & Peace,

Carrie