Good Friday

Jesus fell with his face to the ground and prayed:-
 
“My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will but as you will.”
 
(Matthew 26: 39)
 
And in John 19: 28-30 we read:-
 
28 After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.
 
29 Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth.
 
30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
 
Thank you, dear Jesus, for having the courage and strength to suffer all the pain and humiliation of being crucified upon the Cross at Calvary so that all our sins may be forgiven and so that we may enjoy eternal life in your Kingdom.
 
Amen
Good Friday
With many peaceful blessings
Geoffrey

In the Shadows of Victory – Ride the Rollercoaster of Holy Week

In the Shadows of Victory you are invited to ride the rollercoaster of Holy Week.

We now begin the journey, remembering that already we stand with Jesus Christ our Saviour in the shadow of the cross, remembering that for him, it was a very dangerous day.

Jesus knew exactly what he was doing mounting the donkey at Bethpage, as this was where the priests had calculated the city limits. For Jesus to mount here was a statement that spoke volumes to all that were there. It was, in effect, as if He was shouting from the rooftops that He was the Messiah.

Now, position yourself at the side of the road, having first run and chopped down a palm branch that you are waving frantically.

Picture if you can the Roman army standing there, thousands of them, making it very clear that you are part of an occupied people. Look up at the temple on the hill, and look beyond it. There overshadowing the holy place is the fist shaped Roman fortress. Built purposely taller than the temple just to remind you who was in charge.

Listen to the crowd hailing him as their King. But He does not come on a war horse, only a humble donkey. And He does not come with swords and clubs; He is armed only with God’s words of peace and love.

Wave your branches, as they are the national symbol of your people. Wave them at the coming Messiah, showing your defiance to the Romans, believing that this Jesus would send them packing once and for all.

Jesus knew that for Him, it was a very dangerous day.

Picture the children laughing and playing around your feet. In your fear, you push them forward. Somehow this fear is always lurking beneath your joy; your fear of the Roman soldiers and the power they hold over you.

The children – they are young, surely these soldiers wouldn’t launch an attack against them, no matter how unruly the crowd become. Push them forward, put them between you and the soldiers, not because you do not love your children, but because you fear for your own safety.

Jesus knew that for Him, it was a very dangerous day.

Sing your hosannas, not just a song of happiness, but also a song of rebellion, a song that speaks of freedom, and of victory over your enemies. Stand tall in the face of those who persecute you. Hold firm, ready to take up arms and fight, ready to rally around this new king and take back, by force if you have to, your land, and your home.

Jesus knew that for Him, it was a very dangerous day.

To order your copy via kindle (£1.99/$2.40) please go to:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00L9UYDKS

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HAKO7L6

With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

 

Easter Greetings from the World Methodist Council

I greet you in the name of our Crucified and Risen Lord, Jesus Christ on this special day as we proclaim with Christians throughout the word; “The Lord is risen! He is risen indeed. Hallelujah”.

The past week Christians reflected on Jesus’ march on Jerusalem that ended in the crucifixion. We were further shocked and horrified by the cowardly acts of terror inflicted on innocent civilians in Corte d’Ivoire, Turkey and Belgium. People all around the world expressed collective solidarity and grief with the victims of these ghastly deeds. As on Good Friday for many it seemed as if hope died but death could not hold Jesus.

The story of Jesus would have been nothing more than an occasional point of reference of an inspirational teacher, a charismatic figure or a martyr if it had simply ended with the crucifixion, but Jesus defeated death and rose from the grave on the third day. For this reason, we are the people of the resurrection and can affirm with Christians throughout the centuries that; “God Raised Jesus from the Dead”.

The Easter message is about the unlimited, boundless grace, victory, joy and renewed hope for believers. In William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, death is described as, “The road from which no traveller has ever returned”. (Hamlet Act 3 Scene 1) He was wrong because one did return, and his name is Jesus, the Christ. It is in His name that we gather today as an Easter people, a people of Hope. With Easter, we look at death and the grave differently, and words like hopelessness and impossible loose its meaning.

Easter functions as a divine proclamation and a decisive victory over the evil forces of sin and death. Therefore, we can look with confidence towards the future with God.

As a people of hope, we live in the shadow cast by the resurrection and everything should be interpreted in the light of this event.

Happy Easter!

Ivan Abrahams
General Secretary
World Methodist Council

A Dusty Room

They came unexpectedly. Two of them following a man with a jar – he pointed me out, and then disappeared as the others hurried towards me. I recognised them immediately; they were followers of Him, the teacher.

We had spoken before, this teacher and I, He spoke wisely and seemed somehow to be able to look inside my very soul.

We had discussed money, something that I was very fond of, but He seemed to think that I should give more away, help the local poor, reach out to those in need around me. I was a little taken aback; after all, who was this man to tell me what I should do with my own money?

But He sowed a seed, and it really got me thinking. It was as if He knew it would, as if He even knew the outcome of my thinking.

Then of course it happened, his two disciples arrived and asked for my upper room so that they and the teacher could share the Passover together.

Here was my chance, to show Him that I had been thinking about our conversation. I welcomed the party and told them I would prepare it for them.

They went back to give Jesus the news and I went straight to the room that had not been used for a while and needed a good clean. I spent the afternoon cleaning everywhere, making it ready to receive Him.

It was not too long before they showed up. Everyone looked hot and bothered, He smiled at me as I had said nothing about charging Him for the use of the room. He knew I was beginning to change.

He asked me for a bowl of water, which I provided and then to everyone’s amazement He bent down and washed his disciples’ feet. I have never seen a teacher, a leader do that before. Who was this man who turned the norm on its head and changed everything from the inside out?

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

 

The Last 7 Sayings that Jesus said on the Cross

These are the last seven sayings that Jesus said on the cross.
 
Sometimes they are referred to as the “Seven Words.” There’s also a bit of a debate on the exact order of the sayings, but the following is a complete list with a plausible order.
 
Luke 23:34, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”
 
Luke 23:43, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”
 
John 19:26-27, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27 Then He *said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!”
 
Matt. 27:46, “ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?” that is, “MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?”
 
John 19:28, “I am thirsty.”
 
John 19:30, “It is finished!”
 
Luke 23:46, “Father, INTO YOUR HANDS I COMMIT MY SPIRIT.”
With many heartfelt blessings
Geoffrey

A Dangerous Day for Jesus

Now that we are approaching Easter – and all that that means to Christians throughout the world – I would strongly recommend that if you have a kindle you download a copy of the wonderfully inspirational book ‘In The Shadows of Victory:- Ride the Rollercoaster of Holy Week’ by Deacon Becky Lovatt.

Becky has created an interactive book, featuring stories from the viewpoint of many of the people that in some ways were involved in the last few days of Jesus’ journey towards the Cross.

For further information and to download this marvellous book for only £1.99 please go to:-

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00L9UYDKS/

To wet your appetite so to speak this is the first chapter:-

Dangerous Day 

We now begin the journey, remembering that already we stand with Jesus Christ our Saviour in the shadow of the cross, remembering that for him, it was a very dangerous day.

Jesus knew exactly what he was doing mounting the donkey at Bethpage, as this was where the priests had calculated the city limits. For Jesus to mount here was a statement that spoke volumes to all that were there. It was, in effect, as if He was shouting from the rooftops that He was the Messiah.

Now, position yourself at the side of the road, having first run and chopped down a palm branch that you are waving frantically.

Picture if you can the Roman army standing there, thousands of them, making it very clear that you are part of an occupied people. Look up at the temple on the hill, and look beyond it. There overshadowing the holy place is the fist shaped Roman fortress. Built purposely taller than the temple just to remind you who was in charge.

Listen to the crowd hailing him as their King. But He does not come on a war horse, only a humble donkey. And He does not come with swords and clubs; He is armed only with God’s words of peace and love.

Wave your branches, as they are the national symbol of your people. Wave them at the coming Messiah, showing your defiance to the Romans, believing that this Jesus would send them packing once and for all.

Jesus knew that for Him, it was a very dangerous day.

Picture the children laughing and playing around your feet. In your fear, you push them forward. Somehow this fear is always lurking beneath your joy; your fear of the Roman soldiers and the power they hold over you.

The children – they are young, surely these soldiers wouldn’t launch an attack against them, no matter how unruly the crowd become. Push them forward, put them between you and the soldiers, not because you do not love your children, but because you fear for your own safety.

Jesus knew that for Him, it was a very dangerous day.

Sing your hosannas, not just a song of happiness, but also a song of rebellion, a song that speaks of freedom, and of victory over your enemies. Stand tall in the face of those who persecute you. Hold firm, ready to take up arms and fight, ready to rally around this new king and take back, by force if you have to, your land, and your home.

Jesus knew that for Him, it was a very dangerous day.

A very happy Good Friday to you all

May our Father God bless you mightily on this very special day

With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

The Widow’s Offering

We were there in the temple with Him again, the way we had been many times before. We were all there, the twelve of us and some of the women who had followed Him from the beginning.

We had gone to pray, but as we had come to expect, nothing was ever straightforward with Him. Many people grouped together, a few women congregated in the courtyard and several men entered the main part of the temple almost as one. We hovered in the doorway waiting for instruction, teaching or blessing. We had not yet grasped that the blessing would come from Him.He ushered us through the gates, and deep into the heart of the temple and there He began to teach us.

“Look,” He said, “Watch as the men of wealth give their offerings to God. They give little of what they have and keep much for themselves. They give little, not only from their pockets but also from their very souls,” He told us.

He paused, for breath and for effect. He wanted us to take it all in, but I’m not sure we did, I’m not sure we really understood.

“Look,” He continued “Watch as the widow places her last two coins into the plate – this is all that she has and yet she gives it willingly to her God. She offers all that she can, the little money she possesses and all of herself.”

We did as we were told, we looked.

We looked and we saw the men of wealth giving little and we looked and saw the bent over old widow giving all she had, but what were we to do next?

Did He want us to go to her and lend her money or did he want us to rebuke the men for not giving enough? We did not know or understand what He wanted from us.

Years later we recalled the scene and reflected on what Jesus was trying to tell us. It is important that whatever we have we give generously back to God so that he can use it to further the kingdom.

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

 

 

I Dried My Tears With My Hair

Everyone considered me an outcast, and they made jolly sure I knew my place, firmly at the bottom of the pile.

Firstly, it was because I was a woman, on a sticky wicket to begin with. Secondly, it was because I had been branded a sinner. I confess, I had not followed all their rules, and gone along with their agenda, but I had to eat, and so I found whatever method I could to allow that to happen.

I had heard about Jesus. People said that He befriended sinners, ate with them, and treated people like me as His equals, giving them the opportunity to ask for forgiveness and maybe even a new start. I wanted that – I didn’t want to carry on with life as it was. I wanted a fresh dawn, and I believed He could give it to me.

I knew that His friends would not allow me anywhere near Him, so I kept my ears to the ground and waited for a good time.

I heard about a dinner being hosted by one of the locals, so I turned up on the doorstep and got myself in. Officials tried to stop me, but I so wanted to see Jesus, I just kept on walking until I reached the main hall.

Suddenly, there He was, reclining at a table with the other guests. I didn’t wait – I ran, hit my knees, and poured perfume from the jar I carried all over his feet.

As I did I began to cry, as the weight of all my sin fell away. My tears and the perfume mingled together and I wiped His feet with my hair.

There was uproar! But not from Him, He smiled and gently helped me to my feet.

Someone complained that the perfume was expensive and could have been saved for the poor. He told them that there would always be poor people, but that they would not always have Him.

Someone else was quick to point out my reputation, after all I was a sinful woman, but He told them I had done a beautiful thing in preparing Him for burial – that had not been my intention but I was pleased He liked what I had done.

The dinner host and his guests condemned me. Jesus forgave me.

And I washed His feet with my perfume and my tears and dried them with my hair.

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

An Invitation to Tea – Zaccheaus

My name is Zaccheaus, Zac for short, and you may have heard of me. I’m the one who is short and climbed a tree to see Jesus, only for Him to invite himself to my house for tea.

It was long ago, and I am old now, but I look back with fondness, with horror and with disgust at the man I used to be. At the man I was, before Jesus changed me, before I was set free, and forgiven.

I was a very wealthy man, I still am, if you compare me with those around me that have nothing. But I share my wealth now, and use it for good, unlike before.

In those days, I cooked the books, believed in creative accounting, which basically meant I got richer and everyone else became poorer. I lied and cheated, and behaved appallingly, but all this did not stop Jesus from calling my name, and although I was a sinner He called me friend.

I remember the day as if it were yesterday. The streets were lined at every corner, with crowds of excited people. Jesus was coming to town. I knew of this Jesus, by reputation anyway, you could not have lived in Jericho at that time, and not have heard of Him.

I wanted to see what all the fuss was about, I wanted to know if He deserved such a reputation, I needed to see for myself.

However, therein lay the problem. I was so short I couldn’t see anything, only the armpits of the person in front of me. Suddenly, I had a cunning plan.  I ran along the road and climbed a sycamore tree. This was perfect, I thought, I can see Him, but He can’t see me.

How wrong was I?

Not long after I had settled myself down, I was disturbed.

Someone was calling my name. At first, I stayed quiet, I hoped I would blend in with the leaves. I was not a popular guy, so I prayed that the person that had spoken had mixed me up with someone else and that they would soon move on. But the calling persisted.

Who was it that called, and what did they want?

Eventually, as the crowds gathered at the foot of my tree, and the discontented mutterings increased, I realised that it was Jesus who was talking to me, and not just talking, but inviting Himself to tea.

I climbed down, and as I opened the door of my house I realised that the door of my heart had been prised open too. This man knew all about me, He saw through my lies and exposed my cheating.

He never condemned me, it was I who condemned myself, because in the light of his goodness my evil was laid bare.

He called me a son of Abraham, as He offered me forgiveness. I in turn gave half of my possessions to the poor, and paid back three-fold those whom I had cheated.

He told me that salvation had come. I didn’t know what that was, but I knew things could never be the same, and they never have been.

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

 

Palm Sunday

Wow what a day!!

You should have seen it!!

I was minding my own business on the way to the city for the Passover festival when I was caught up in the commotion.

Crowds and crowds of people.

All shouting and waving coats and palms, anything they could get hold of really.

There were children singing, Excited women,

And men visibly growing in stature, ready to stand up and fight for what was rightfully theirs.

The soldiers were on high alert.

The priests were clearly concerned and unsure.

And the people He brought with Him were loyal and obedient, ready to follow at any cost, and hanging on His every word.

And there He was. People called him Jesus, The Lamb of God,

The Son of David,

Even, the Messiah, the chosen one of God.

They believed He would raise an army, So they hailed Him as king.

They thought He would bring freedom

So they pledged themselves to Him and to His service.

But I did not see a warlord.

I did not see jewels in a crown,

Or an army marching with swords and clubs. Nor did I hear words of uprising,

Or any call to arms.

Instead I saw a man, humbly riding on a donkey and speaking love. I, like everyone else, was glad to be a part of it.

I knew this was the start of something big.

I could sense that this man drew people to Him

And I felt that He had the power to change those around Him. And He did!!!

With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey