Saturday (Steve Thomason)

Saturday must have been a long and dark day. Not only did they hide in fear of their lives, but even worse, they grieved deeply. Jesus was gone. His disciples had watched the soldiers carry him off to his execution the day before. Now it was Saturday, their master was dead and the grief cut deeply, leaving them utterly hollow.

They had not signed up for this. Jesus was supposed to be the Messiah. He was supposed to lead them to victory over their oppressors. He was supposed to establish Israel as a strong nation once again and allow them to bask in the joy of sweet justice. Pain, grief, and sorrow were not part of the package.

Perhaps you have felt like the disciples that dark Saturday. I know I have. Over a fifteen-month period in my life I experienced the deaths of a friend, two grandmothers, my father-in-law, and the church that we had planted, as well as the near death experiences of a sister-in-law and a niece. Wham! There I was. It seemed like everything around me was dying. I didn’t sign up for this. I thought the way of following Jesus was one of victory and peace. All I felt was pain and despair. Actually, I had lost the ability to feel. I wish I could say that I handled it with poise and dignity, quietly nodding and smiling, quoting pithy platitudes about God’s sovereignty. I didn’t. I toggled between numb denial and irritating doubt. I wondered if perhaps I didn’t measure up. Perhaps God was punishing me for something. Perhaps I’d been duped all these years and the universe really was a cold and empty place.

I have to think that the disciples had similar feelings on that dark Saturday. It seemed as if all hope was gone. We feel this way because we forget an important truth. The way of Jesus is a way of pain, grief, and sorrow. Jesus suffered much in his life – even before his arrest and execution. As a child he knew what it meant to be hidden in Egypt in fear for his life. He knew the loss of his stepfather, Joseph. He wept over the death of his friend, Lazarus. He grieved over the blindness of the citizens of Israel. He agonized to the point of blood in the garden of Gethsemane. He screamed out in the words of his ancestor, David, as he hung on the cross, “My God, My God, why have you abandoned me?”

But Jesus told us it would be this way. In John’s account of Jesus’ final teaching Jesus said that God would prune the branches that clung to the Vine (John 15:1-17). Pruning hurts. To have large parts of your life severed from you is not a pleasant experience. There is no joy in the sensation of shears cutting into your flesh. Yet, as the Great Gardener knows, without pruning there is no life.

That is the way of Jesus – the way of God’s love and grace. God purifies us with pain. The disciples learned this and went on to write to the churches about it. James said to consider it pure joy when we suffer various trials, because in the end it makes us complete and strong. Peter told us that suffering refines our hearts like fire refines gold. Then Paul, as he described the painful process of working through persecution and breaking down the walls of prejudice, reached the climax of the whole process with one word – hope.

Saturday was finally over. On Sunday the disciples came face to face with a reality that is deeper than grief. They met hope. Jesus plowed through pain and grief and came out the other side alive once more. Saturdays will come. Of that you can be sure. They will come and they will be painful. They may last a day; they may last twenty months. When they come, remember this – without Saturday we don’t get to Sunday. The love of Jesus is our hope for today and forever. We will grieve, but we can grieve with hope.

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Saturday (Steve Thomason)

Rejoice!!! Celebrate the Most High

Celebrate and worship God for how he has prospered and established you. Yes, wait for it. It will come, it will not tarry. As you await the physical manifestation, become strong and courageous by giving God glory

The work is already done, stand fast. Be still and see the hand of the Most High

Celebrate and worship God – Do not end in the flesh what you started in the Spirit

Speak and walk in newness of mind for the One who called you is faithful

God has established you, not because of status or what people might say or the things you are after. He has established you because He loves you, so that you will live a life worthy of the King Eternal

Let not your hearts be troubled. Peace I (Christ) leave to you, my peace I give to you.

CELEBRATE the MOST HIGH

Celebration is when we enjoy ourselves, our life, our world in conjunction with faith and confidence in God’s greatness, beauty, and goodness. We concentrate on our life and world as God’s work and as God’s gifts to us – Dallas Willard

God is with you, Be Strong and Courageous!!!

Rejoice!!! Celebrate the Most High

Dependence on God

Remember the long way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, in order to humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commandments. He humbled you by letting you hunger, then by feeding you with manna, with which neither you nor your ancestors were acquainted, in order to make you understand that one does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord – Duet 8:2-3 

The last 40 years might be the last 6 months or the last 5 years for you but recall how God has been guiding you, making all things work together, building dependency on Him in you. Go back into your memories, and let the Almighty help you connect the dots…

See the heart of God as he seeks to humble you because humility is wisdom, it is the pathway to true strength and peace in God. God already knows what is in your heart – the revelation of whether or not you will obey Him is for you, for you to know where you are at. See the necessity of lack/discontentment that God allowed in order to show that our ways and machinations are not enough – manna which neither you nor your fathers knew about.

 Manna is His provision, showing His faithfulness, letting you know that you can trust in Him, pointing towards the importance. Taste and savor the importance of the intangible (the Spirit) over the tangible means by which we try to save ourselves (the workings of our flesh)

 Recall that El-Roi, who sees all, already knows what is in your heart since He is Omniscient. He is going to all this extent to show you where you are at, so you know how to build

Now, because you have stepped out in faith before God. Because you have sought to glorify Him, to make Him a proud papa, here is his solemn promise to you:

I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. I will not, I will not, I will not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let you down, Assuredly not!

 God will not give what is yours away. He will never cast your pearls before swine. Be rest assured that He who has called you is faithful and He will show Himself strong for your sake. The vision is for an appointed time, though it tarries, wait for it. It will come at God’s appointed time. It speaks of an end, a conclusion to the old, a birthing of the new.

 You will celebrate the ending of the old, and endless possibilities of the new season. It is indeed your season of enlargement. Do not hold back. First, lengthen your cords, deepen your stakes and then…..EXPLODE!!!

For this world and its creatures await your manifestation, yes, your very own manifestation. By the way, I am part of those that look forward to your rising. Arise and Shine for the glory of the Almighty is upon you Amen

Dependence on God