Our one month anniversary was on Easter Sunday. What a great way to celebrate it. It was was such a great day. We sent out over 6000 mailers to residents in the Stillwater area to invite them to our Easter service. It paid off. We had 130+ in attendance. Many of the people that came were un-churched. Our team did a great job with setup and greeting the guests. We had a great service worshiping the resurrected king and speaking about the PROVIDER. After service we had an easter egg hunt for the kids and a petting zoo. Great day. We met so many great and new people. We also got to connect with our watermark family. It was such a great day. We were so encouraged. I love seeing the growth of numbers, the growth of our family, the growth of the people, and the growth of the Watermark family. The best is truly yet to come. So many things to celebrate and to be thankful for.
This past sunday (easter) I continued my “Names Series”. The name that I shared about this week was “Jehovah Jireh”; which means “My PROVIDER”. Thats a cool name. When I think of a story in the Bible about God providing I think about the story of Abraham and Isaac. I think of how Abraham was praying and waiting for Isaac, and then he eventually came, God tested Abraham to see if he would give Isaac up.
Genesis 22:1-12 Abraham and Isaac
Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”“Here I am,” he replied.2 Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”3 Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. 4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5 He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, 7 Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”8 Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.9 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”“Here I am,” he replied.12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”
Crazy story of Abraham’s sacrifice/obedience but also of Isaacs’s obedience. How many of you would offer your child to be sacrificed? I wouldn’t! If i can be honest. Kill my own son (be willing to). thats a tough decision. When I read that story, I was surprised by a few similarities between that story and Jesus on the cross. For instance; both stories have the son carrying the wood up the hill, both talked about the third day, and both needed a sacrafice. I am also amazed that Abraham told his servants “We will be back!” (before they went up the mt.). Its almost as if Abraham knew God would “Provide” another way. The amazing part is; before Abraham almost killed his son; God did answer his prayer. GOD PROVIDED! Abraham was obedient and He provided another way. “Our obedience opens the door for God’s providence”
All through scripture, there are stories about how GOD PROVIDES a way. When all hope seems lost, there is another way. When He sends a FLOOD, he has Noah build an ARK. When Joshua is in battle, God causes the SUN to stand still. When they had to feed 5,000 people; He multiplies the loaves and fishes. When the Israelites were in the Desert for over 30 years, they had their sandals and clothes taken care of from God; they did not wear out (Deut 29:5-6). Lifetime warranty clothes. God should go into the clothing business…sandals that last over 30 years…impressive! We serve a God who provides. That is amazing.
I love putting myself into stories. (What would I do? How would I feel?). When I think about the three days from the cross to the grave, I try to imagine what I would be feeling and thinking. Imagine what it felt like to be follower the messiah and watching Him perform all the miracles and then be beaten and put on the cross. One day He is riding into the town like a parade on a donkey and then later he is carrying a cross through the street. If you were a disciples you would have watched Jesus heal the sick, raise the dead and perform many other miracles; but watch Jesus stay on the cross. He did not get down when He could. He did not save himself. The disciples probably started having doubt. Probably started asking themselves; “I this truly the messiah?”; “does it end this way?”; “Were we tricked into believing a lie?” There was more questions then answer. You watch your Savior die on Friday. All hope seems lost. They went to bed on friday night with lil hope. They probably woke up on saturday with less hope. Their hope laid in a tomb. Now what? They gave up their lives to follow a man who was in a tomb. They were criticized for a man who couldn’t save himself. They went ALL IN! Saturday was full or questions, disappointment, fear, confusion, loneliness, and much more. They probably wrestled with abandonment. They remembered Jesus saying “I will never leave you!!!” Saturday was tough. They put their head on their pillow with questions than answers. ALL FEELS LOST!
It’s not hard to imagine; IT’S EASY TO IMAGINE BECAUSE WE HAVE ALL BEEN THERE! Maybe you are there right now. STUCK IN BETWEEN! Now what? Confusion, misplaced, disappointed, lonely, sad, STUCK! We have felt what the disciples went through; going through life with more QUESTIONS than ANSWERS! These are men who gave up there life to follow a man. They left everything and followed Him. Now in this time between; they are trying to pick up the pieces…
Then……..SUNDAY CAME! This is not the END, its only the BEGINNING!
Sunday they woke up and something felt different. It was a NEW DAY! There was HOPE! as they went through the day they began to hear the rumors of the rock being rolled away and the tomb being empty. They started to hear stories but they still had doubt. They hear; THE TOMB IS EPMPTY! Jesus is gone!
Then Jesus shows himself to them; He comes to them and He show them His NAIL PEIRCED hands (they touch Him and believe). They not only hear about it, they see it! All hope it back. He beat death! He is who He said He was. He is the MESSIAH. He is here with us!
NAMES OF GOD=IMMANUEL (with us) SHAMMAH (PRESENCE), EL SHADDAI (POWER), and JEHOVAH JIREH (PROVIDES) all COMES TOGETHER that event!
The Cross and empty tomb define who God is! HE PROVIDED; that’s PROVIDENCE!
a) often capitalized : divine guidance or care b) capitalized : God conceived as the power sustaining and guiding human destiny
NOT only did God PROVIDE a WAY; HE BECAME THE WAY!
“I AM THE WAY THE TRUTH TAND THE LIFE” JOHN 14:6
NOT only did JESUS rise from the DEAD; HE BECAME THE RESSURECTION!
“I AM THE RESSURECTION AND THE LIFE” JOHN 11:25
We don’t just celebrate an EVENT; we celebrate a PERSON; “HE IS THE RESURRECTION!” I am the RESURRECTION! An event ends but JESUS is forever; that means the PROVISION; the RESURRECTION power last forever.
The SAME POWER that CONQUERED THE GRAVE LIVES IN ME.
Paul said it best in Philippians 3:10 “That I may KNOW HIM, and the power of HIS RESSURRECTION….”
Grace=not getting what I deserve
Some people say mad because they feel they are short changed; they deserve better. (Not being recognized, not getting the promotion, etc)
We feel like we deserve more!
“I wish I got what I deserved!” (People think this)
I praise God that I don’t get what I deserve! (Jesus paid the price that I don’t get what I deserve). He paid the price so I don’t have to! I don’t deserve to be loved; BUT I AM I don’t deserve to be saved; BUT I AM
Maybe you feel like the disciples; you are in Saturday (between good Friday and Resurrection Sunday)
The SAME POWER that CONQUERED THE GRAVE LIVES IN ME.