EncourageOgram June 15, 2021
Dear brothers and sister,
It has been too long since I shared some devotional thoughts with you through these “encourage0grams.” So today I was led by the Lord to share.
First of all, I am so pleased to tell you that Jeff Howard has accepted God’s call to join us as our new youth Pastor. He is excited to join us as soon as possible. He and his wife, Meredith told me that they wish they had been with us this past Sunday to worship with us and get to know more people here at FCC. Please, pray for him and his family. His mother recently fell and broke bones in her body. Jeff needs to care for her and this may delay the sale of his house in Texas. Also, you are all very aware of the high costs of finding a home in Colorado. Pray that God opens a door of opportunity for Jeff and Meredith to purchase or rent a home.
Secondly, we are having a very successful VBS. Fifty children joined us last night and we expect more to come this week. God has and continues to supply the workers we need. I am so thankful to the Lord for each one!
Finally, I want us to ponder the Scriptures on the subject of being forsaken. There is a line in a gospel song which says; “I’m forgiven because He was forsaken.” This truth comes from written accounts of eyewitnesses at the crucifixion.
NIV Matthew 27:46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eli, Eli,1 lema sabachthani?" (which means "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?").
This cry of our Lord comes after the earth has been dark for three hours. Jesus is quoting in His native language from Psalm 22:1. The prophecy in Psalm 22 is being fulfilled by Jesus. He is being forsaken by our Father in Heaven. Why? Because Jesus is taking our sin upon himself. The Father cannot look favorably on sin. The sin is ours, but the experience of separation is HIS. He who knew no sin became sin in our place (2 Corinthians 5:21). The separation is real. It is the consequence of Jesus taking the wrath for our sin that we deserve. It is the climax of his suffering on the cross for us. We say with absolute confidence – “There is now no condemnation for all who are IN Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)
But Jesus was not forsaken in the tomb!
NIV Acts 2:27 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, you will not let your holy one see decay. These are the words of Peter quoting David in Psalm 16 during his sermon on Pentecost!
Peter goes on to explain the meaning of the Psalm as it applies to Jesus.
NIV Acts 2:31 Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay.
So, we learn that the abandonment by the Father gave us the just payment for our sins! Then we see that the non-abandonment of our Savior in the grave gives us the assurance that we are forgiven and have a glorious destiny guaranteed by the resurrection of Jesus out of the dead!
Let us conclude with just two more observations. Our Father will never abandon us even if we are persecuted in this world!
NIV 2 Corinthians 4:9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
NIV Hebrews 13:5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."
Finally, we are called to not abandon others in this Body of believers.
NIV Hebrews 10:25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another -- and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Isn’t amazing how the prophecies were fulfilled, and our future is secure?!
Until next time, live courageously in God’s grace,