“A Monumental Happening”               Reading Mark 16:1-8 quoted below, we know that our Jesus, our Christ has risen from the grave.  As we look at the years that Jesus walked on the earth, several monumental things happened in His short life.               The first important monumental event was the birth of Jesus.  He was born of a virgin in a livestock barn.  The next, (I am not discounting all the miracles, healing which were all monumental,) was His death on His Cross; the blood spilt, the grieving, the mocking all a part of His death.  The third event we see God has lifted Him out of the tomb.  (He Is Risen.)               We then see eyewitness accounts of Him walking, talking, and eating after the tomb was opened.               Each of these instances by themselves was monumental, but each was necessary for the whole.  Without His birth, there would not have been a Cross.  Without the Cross, there would never have been a need for a tomb.  Without the tomb, the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus would never have happened.  Without that resurrection, you and I would not have a resurrection in our future.  We would be without Hope, the Hope our Lord gave us by dying on that “Old Rugged Cross.”               When we accept Jesus as our Saviour, and bow our head in subjection and humility to Him, a monumental event happens.  Jesus places the Holy Spirit within us.  With the Holy Spirit, we become one with Christ and His Father in Heaven.                                Have you received Jesus?  Have you subjected yourself to the One who died a horrible death for you?  Jesus is calling.  He is calling you.  Accept His Monumental Salvation.  Accept Him and see your life change.  It will if you have willingly accepted Him on His terms.                     Bro John R. E Chastain Mark 16:1-8  And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.  (2)  And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.  (3)  And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?  (4)  And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great.  (5)  And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted.  (6)  And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.  (7)  But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.  (8)  And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid.
Blessed when Persecuted
Matthew 5:10-11

Christ didn't quit Calvary when things became difficult; don't quit on God when persecutions come.

Well-known missionary Amy Carmichael once wrote the following poem about persecution in the life of a Christian:

Hast thou no scar?
No hidden scar on foot, or side, or hand?
I hear thee sung as mighty in the land,
I hear them hail thy bright ascendant star,
Hast thou no scar?
Hast thou no wound?
Yet I was wounded by the archers, spent,
Leaned Me against a tree to die; and rent
By ravening beasts that compassed Me, I swooned:
Hast thou no wound?
No wound, no scar?
Yet, as the Master shall the servant be,
And, pierced are the feet that follow Me;
But thine are whole: can he have followed far
Who has no wounds nor scar?

Hast thou no scar, Christian? What person hasn't faced a time of trial, difficulty, persecution, or struggle? I'm sure older Christians can point back to times of persecution just as newer Christians can. The question isn't whether you'll face persecution, but how you'll react to it.

Christ knew the persecution His followers would face. He understood the trials they would face, which is why He said, "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake." Even when they faced the unloving masses, Jesus wanted them to know they were blessed.

Some believers have faced intense persecution of martyrdom, and some still do face death for their beliefs today. Yet some Christians will face the persecution of rejection, ostracism, and social ridicule. While social persecution isn't as bad as martyrdom, Christ still wants you to know that suffering for God's sake will be blessed.

When people mock God's Word, you're blessed. When others reject your witnessing, you're blessed. When those around you think you're weird for your beliefs, you're blessed. When friends leave you, you're blessed. No matter what persecution is thrown at you, never forget that God considers those who are persecuted in His name to be blessed.

Persecution will come in your life, if it hasn't already. How will you react? Do not soften your beliefs or silence your message because of persecution. Christ didn't stop on the road to Calvary when things became difficult. Continue on despite persecution, and thank God that through it all, you are blessed to be able to suffer for Christ's sake.

Daily Bible Reading
Judges 9-10 | Luke 5:17-39
Steps of Growth

2 Corinthians 8:17
“For indeed he accepted the exhortation; but being more forward, of his own accord he went unto you.”

God expects growth out of every Christian. In fact, the Scriptures command us in 2 Peter 3:18, “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” Growth is one of the elements that is required of a Christian.

When the Apostle Paul talked about Titus in the verse above, he talked about the two steps that Titus took in order to grow as a Christian. These two steps are vital for every Christian if they want to “grow in grace.” Though God does not say how fast we are to grow, He does expect growth in every Christian.

In order for a Christian to grow we learn that he must accept exhortation. In other words, a Christian who wants to grow must accept the teaching that comes their way. You will never grow when you constantly refuse the teaching of God's Word. This teaching comes through preaching, personal Bible study, Sunday school teachers and spiritual leaders in the church.

One of the problems I see in many Christians is an unteachable spirit. When a person can no longer be taught, then a person will no longer grow. It does not matter how long you have been saved, or what your position is in the church, you can always be taught something. When you get to the point when nobody can teach you, then you have stopped your growth. A person with a teachable spirit is a person who has great potential to grow. A person who can no longer be taught anything is a person who will no longer grow.

The second step to growth is that the teaching must be applied. Not only did Titus accept exhortation, but he also went forward on his own. In other words, he accepted teaching and personally applied it to his life. He did not wait for someone to tell him to do what he was taught; he had the initiative to apply it himself.

If you have a teachable spirit I am thrilled about this, but you will never grow until you take the initiative on your own to apply teaching. All the teaching in the world does no one a bit of good if they don't apply it.

Your goal as a Christian should be to grow on a regular basis. In order to grow you must be teachable. Be careful not to get to the point in your Christian life when you think you know everything. Take the teaching you get and apply it without someone having to push you. Teaching applied will always produce growth.
“Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the Lord.”

Lamentations 3:40
The spouse who fondly loves her absent husband longs for his return; a long protracted separation from her lord is a semi-death to her spirit: and so with souls who love the Saviour much, they must see his face, they cannot bear that he should be away upon the mountains of Bether, and no more hold communion with them. A reproaching glance, an uplifted finger will be grievous to loving children, who fear to offend their tender father, and are only happy in his smile. Beloved, it was so once with you. A text of Scripture, a threatening, a touch of the rod of affliction, and you went to your Father’s feet, crying, “Show me wherefore thou contendest with me?” Is it so now? Are you content to follow Jesus afar off? Can you contemplate suspended communion with Christ without alarm? Can you bear to have your Beloved walking contrary to you, because you walk contrary to him? Have your sins separated between you and your God, and is your heart at rest? O let me affectionately warn you, for it is a grievous thing when we can live contentedly without the present enjoyment of the Saviour’s face. Let us labour to feel what an evil thing this is—little love to our own dying Saviour, little joy in our precious Jesus, little fellowship with the Beloved! Hold a true Lent in your souls, while you sorrow over your hardness of heart. Do not stop at sorrow! Remember where you first received salvation. Go at once to the cross. There, and there only, can you get your spirit quickened. No matter how hard, how insensible, how dead we may have become, let us go again in all the rags and poverty, and defilement of our natural condition. Let us clasp that cross, let us look into those languid eyes, let us bathe in that fountain filled with blood—this will bring back to us our first love; this will restore the simplicity of our faith, and the tenderness of our heart.
Mary Saw Him
Reading our scripture from John 20:15-18 quoted below, we can almost hear the surprise in Mary’s voice. It would be nice to be able to hear her say “Rabboni” I can only imagine a high shrill voice, one of super surprise, and one of super excitement in actually seeing her Master alive, knowing He is Risen.

When a loved one has departed this life we would expect, in this life time, never to be able to hug them, nor hold their hand nor speak to them again. There are times I would like to just tell my Dad I love him. I cannot tell you I ever told him that or that he ever told me he loved me. In my heart I know, but I would really like to know that I did tell him that I loved him. Here Mary is standing before a Risen Christ Jesus, and she is not allowed to touch Him. Don’t you know she wanted to hug Him, tell Him how sorry she was about all that had happened? Yet she couldn’t. It wasn’t possible. You see we cannot see Jesus, nor can we physically touch Him, yet, we know He loves us, and if you have accepted Him with a sincere, desiring heart, you love Him. However, we know He ascended to Heaven to be with His Father, and our Father, and to His God and our God. I have gotten past even remembering who my physical Father was over the sixty plus years. I do remember his history, his name, yet, that is all I know. I don’t know why God took him away from my Mother, my Sister and I, but He did. My God, through His Word, has taught me that what has happened in my life was for a reason. So back to Mary, she returns to the Apostles and relays her story to them. They all consider it “women’s tales” except Peter and John. They check out Mary’s story and find an empty tomb. As Paul Harvey would always say, “Now Here Is The Rest of The Story.” As we read on, we find that Jesus is Risen, He was resurrected from the dead.

(Romans 10:9) That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. Here we are at Easter, celebrating our Risen Christ. “…why weepest thou?” We are here to celebrate the Life God has given us through His Risen Son, our Lord Jesus. If you have never accepted Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, do it today, so you can know Him and know you haven’t let opportunity pass you by.

Bro. John R. E Chastain

John 20:15-18 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. (16) Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. (17) Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. (18) Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.
Blessed when Peaceful
Matthew 5:9

Reacting to a situation peacefully will solve a problem rather than create more problems.

Peace seems to be on the lips of most everyone in the world these days. When asked what thing they desire most, many political and national leaders will say "Peace." Treaties are signed, seeking to end hostility and restore peace, yet treaties often fail.

A London university once conducted a study which concluded that in the past four thousand years, only two hundred and sixty eight years of peace have been known. In the past three hundred years, Europe alone has seen two hundred and eighty six wars. Fighting, hostility, and differences seem to surround us.

While as Christians, we know that true peace will not be found on earth until Christ comes again, we are commanded to be peaceful people. Christ brought the concept of peace down to a personal level when He spoke of Christians being peacemakers. While we may not be able to end fighting and bring about world peace, we can end fighting and bring about personal peace in our lives and the lives of those around us.

In His Sermon on the Mount, Christ encouraged His disciples to be peaceful men when dealing with others, for those who were peacemakers would show forth the peace of God. Jesus knew what the disciples would face. He knew the anger and hatred some people would have for His ministry. Yet He taught the disciples that seeking peace with others would testify of God's peace.

Think about the fact that Christ knew what His followers would go through. He knew most of them would be martyred for His cause. He knew many of them would die horrible deaths, persecuted beforehand because of what He commanded them. God knew everything His disciples would face, yet He still commanded them to seek peace with all men.

Even so, God knows what you will go through in life, yet He still commands you to be a peacemaker. When you seek to peacefully deal with others, you are showing others Christ. Few people in today's world deal peacefully with those around them, especially in hostile situations. Tempers can flare, people can become brash, and peace is the last thing on most people's minds. But God desires for you to be the peacemaker, the one who controls their emotions and calmly handles situations.

Are you known as someone who deals peacefully with others? Your flesh often wants to react out of anger or make unwise decisions in times of conflict, yet God desires that you would allow His peace to control you and to respond to others with peace and love.

How do you react in tense situations? Do you express anger, say unkind words, or allow your emotions to overcome you? Christ shows that those who seek to be peacemakers show forth the peace of God. The next time you are tempted to react in anger, remember Christ's words to His disciples, "Blessed are the peacemakers" and react peacefully.

Daily Bible Reading
Judges 7-8 | Luke 5:1-16
“I called him, but he gave me no answer.”

Song of Solomon 5:6
Prayer sometimes tarrieth, like a petitioner at the gate, until the King cometh forth to fill her bosom with the blessings which she seeketh. The Lord, when he hath given great faith, has been known to try it by long delayings. He has suffered his servants’ voices to echo in their ears as from a brazen sky. They have knocked at the golden gate, but it has remained immovable, as though it were rusted upon its hinges. Like Jeremiah, they have cried, “Thou hast covered thyself with a cloud, that our prayer should not pass through.” Thus have true saints continued long in patient waiting without reply, not because their prayers were not vehement, nor because they were unaccepted, but because it so pleased him who is a Sovereign, and who gives according to his own pleasure. If it pleases him to bid our patience exercise itself, shall he not do as he wills with his own! Beggars must not be choosers either as to time, place, or form. But we must be careful not to take delays in prayer for denials: God’s long-dated bills will be punctually honoured; we must not suffer Satan to shake our confidence in the God of truth by pointing to our unanswered prayers. Unanswered petitions are not unheard. God keeps a file for our prayers—they are not blown away by the wind, they are treasured in the King’s archives. This is a registry in the court of heaven wherein every prayer is recorded. Tried believer, thy Lord hath a tear-bottle in which the costly drops of sacred grief are put away, and a book in which thy holy groanings are numbered. By and by, thy suit shall prevail. Canst thou not be content to wait a little? Will not thy Lord’s time be better than thy time? By and by he will comfortably appear, to thy soul’s joy, and make thee put away the sackcloth and ashes of long waiting, and put on the scarlet and fine linen of full fruition.
With the Spirit

1 Corinthians 14:15-16
“What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also. Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest?”

The word “spirit” in the Scriptures carries two different definitions depending upon the case of the first letter. When the word “Spirit” is in the uppercase, then the Scriptures are talking about the Holy Spirit of God. When the word “spirit” is in the lowercase, then the Scriptures are talking about the spirit or attitude of man.

In the verses above we see the that word “spirit” is in the lowercase, meaning that man is to do what God commanded him to do with his spirit. We find in these verses three things that we are to do with our spirit when serving God. We are to pray, sing and bless with our spirit. Let me explain what God is trying to teach us.

In the Christian life if we are not careful, we can start going through the motions of serving God, and our spirit is not involved. For instance, have you ever caught yourself in a time of prayer just saying a bunch of words knowing that your mind and spirit were not involved? That is what God is talking about in these verses. God is teaching us when we pray, that we need to get our spirit involved in our prayers so we are not merely repeating a bunch of words.

Likewise, when you sing the songs of Christ, don't simply sing a bunch of words. When you are singing congregational songs in the church, get your spirit involved with the songs you sing. Don't merely sing the songs letting your mind wander on different thoughts. Think about what you are singing and sing with your spirit.

Also, when you are blessing someone, bless with your spirit. When God is talking about blessing with the spirit, He is talking about praising and thanking people with your spirit. When someone does something for you, give them a sincere and heartfelt thanks with your spirit. When you praise people for something they have done, involve your spirit in that praise.

Be careful about being a Christian who simply goes through the motions of Christianity. Be a Christian who involves your spirit when you pray to God, sing His praises and bless people. When you pray, pray with your spirit, this will bring fervency in your prayer. When you sing, sing with your spirit, this will bring enthusiasm and heart to your singing. When you bless or praise people, do it with your spirit for this will be felt by the heart of the one whom you are blessing. Don't be an empty Christian, but be a Christian who involves your spirit in all that you do.
“The love of Christ which passeth knowledge.”

Ephesians 3:19
The love of Christ in its sweetness, its fulness, its greatness, its faithfulness, passeth all human comprehension. Where shall language be found which shall describe his matchless, his unparalleled love towards the children of men? It is so vast and boundless that, as the swallow but skimmeth the water, and diveth not into its depths, so all descriptive words but touch the surface, while depths immeasurable lie beneath. Well might the poet say,

“O love, thou fathomless abyss!”

for this love of Christ is indeed measureless and fathomless; none can attain unto it. Before we can have any right idea of the love of Jesus, we must understand his previous glory in its height of majesty, and his incarnation upon the earth in all its depths of shame. But who can tell us the majesty of Christ? When he was enthroned in the highest heavens he was very God of very God; by him were the heavens made, and all the hosts thereof. His own almighty arm upheld the spheres; the praises of cherubim and seraphim perpetually surrounded him; the full chorus of the hallelujahs of the universe unceasingly flowed to the foot of his throne: he reigned supreme above all his creatures, God over all, blessed forever. Who can tell his height of glory then? And who, on the other hand, can tell how low he descended? To be a man was something, to be a man of sorrows was far more; to bleed, and die, and suffer, these were much for him who was the Son of God; but to suffer such unparalleled agony—to endure a death of shame and desertion by his Father, this is a depth of condescending love which the most inspired mind must utterly fail to fathom. Herein is love! and truly it is love that “passeth knowledge.” O let this love fill our hearts with adoring gratitude, and lead us to practical manifestations of its power.

1 Corinthians 11:28
“But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.”

Doctors recommend that we have a physical examination on a regular basis. The purpose of having a physical examination performed is to find any physical problems that may be happening in our body. Doctors know that it is much easier to treat a disease or sickness in the early stages than it is in a progressive stage.

In the verse above God commands us to examine ourselves. The word “examine” means, “to inspect carefully with a view to discover the truth.” God wants every Christian to regularly perform a self-examination on their spiritual health to determine if they are spiritually sick. When we go into this self-examination, we need to perform it with the desire to truthfully know our condition. One problem I find with most Christians is that they really don't want to know the truth. Most Christians simply want to believe that they are doing fine, but this will only hurt us if we are doing something that we should not do.

In the Scriptures there are four areas in which we are commanded to examine ourselves. First, in 2 Corinthians 13:5, we are commanded to examine our doctrine to determine whether we are still doctrinally in the faith. God wants us to regularly examine our stance on doctrine to be sure that we are standing where we are supposed to stand. How important this is in our present day. God knows that we are prone to change our stance on doctrine because of the pressures or religion and friends. You need to examine yourself and make sure your doctrine lines up with Scripture.

Secondly, in Psalm 26:2, we are commanded to examine the condition of our heart. Yes, we need to make sure our heart is still involved in serving God. God wants us to make sure our passion for serving Him has not changed. There are many people who once had a fiery passion in their service to God who now only go through the motions in their service to Him. Examine your passions and make sure they have not changed.

Thirdly, in Lamentations 3:40, we are commanded to examine our direction. The direction you are headed in life is a very important thing to examine. Though you may not be in a wrong place right now, the direction you are headed will take you to a wrong place. Examine your direction morally, spiritually and doctrinally and make sure you are not headed down the wrong path.

Last of all, in Galatians 6:4 we are commanded to examine our works to be sure they are producing the right results. God wants His children to have works that produce. I fear many times we think we are spiritually doing fine when our works haven't produced anything in a long while.

Sometime today you need to get alone and perform a self-examination to make sure you are not spiritually sick in one of these areas. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you perform this self-examination and point out any area that you need to treat immediately. A regular spiritual self-examination with the purpose of finding out the truth will help us to stay spiritually healthy.