going-thereCome with me this morning and gaze upon a very sad moment. We find a young woman standing at a tomb, a rich man’s tomb. A huge stone has been rolled away, and she is standing there sobbing her heart out. She is wailing the middle eastern death wail. She has just experienced the most horrible weekend of her life. She had to witness the execution of the man who had saved her life. He had rescued her from a life of sin and abuse. Her life had been so different since he cast the seven demons from her life. She had never known such forgiveness and acceptance and love. He was gone, crucified at the hands of Roman soldiers, and the least thing she could do was to go and anoint his body for a proper burial. To say goodbye one last time. But he is gone. His body is not there. She arrived early in the morning and the stone had been rolled away. The Roman guards were gone, the grave cloths were laying in the grave. Jesus was gone. Someone had stolen the body away.jesus_tomb-mary-weep

Suddenly a man approaches her. He asks her “Why are you weeping”. She doesn’t recognize him, thinks he is the gardener. “Sir”,she asks, “if you have taken him away, tell me where you have laid him”. She then turns to stare and sob.

He simply calls her name, “Mary”. And in a flash she knew. She turns to him and says “Rabboni”!

This morning, Jesus stands before each one of us. He is alive. He is God! He is our Savior! He is at the right hand of God His Father. He is awaiting the day when the Father will say, THAT”S ENOUGH! Your day is here.

But until that day when He shall descend from heaven with a shout and the blast of the trumpet, Jesus stands in front of you and asks WHY ARE YOU WEEPING? I am your teacher! Do you not know what I have taught you? He calls each one of us by name and asks, “Why are you weeping?”

You say that’s silly, because I’m not weeping. But I say, Jesus knows your heart. He sees the tears that are there. They may be buried, they may be hidden, but they are there. We can all say as David said in Psalm 44:19: “thou hast sore broken us in the place of dragons, and covered us with the shadow of death.” Jesus wanted Mary to realize she did not need to weep. She did not need to sob her heart out.

Glenda Brost of Indiana tells us:

On a beautiful day in May 1996, I came home to find that my fifteen-year-old daughter, Patti, had shot herself to death. I was absolutely devastated. Patti had been diagnosed and hospitalized with severe depression that winter, but seemed to be improving dramatically. In April, she gave her life to the Lord, and everyone saw a big change in her.

The first month after Patti’s death was a blur. I knew I had two choices—to allow my anger and hurt to take over my life and my marriage, or allow the Lord to help me through the struggles and somehow bring good out of this tragedy. My husband, Bill, my son, Brent, and I vowed we wouldn’t let Satan have the victory; we would serve the Lord no matter what. That summer I spent much time reading the Bible and praying. I felt the presence of the Lord in such real ways, comforting and strengthening me. Whenever I was down, someone would call or send a card or say she was praying for me.

limbic-systemOur heart records emotional distress and sends the message to the limbic system of our brain. Here the emotional hurts, painful memories are stored just beneath our conscious thought. These memories surface in strange reactions to certain impulses or circumstances. We can’t explain why so and so frustrates us so, or why so and so brings fear. We bear the mark of emotional pain and suffering upon our heart.

It would be horrible to think that a child’s suicide, the death of a small child, the diagnosis of a terminal disease is something we must bear alone. It is even more tragic that there is no God to make sense of all the pain and suffering in this world. There must be something more to this life. There must be a cure to the stain upon our heart that this life can leave.

Every year thousands of people climb a mountain in the Italian Alps, passing the “stations of the cross” crucifixes-in-italian-alpsto stand at an outdoor crucifix. One tourist noticed a little trail that led beyond the cross. He fought through the rough thicket and, to his surprise, came upon another shrine, a shrine that symbolized the empty tomb. It was neglected. The brush had grown up around it. Almost everyone had gone as far as they cross, but there they stopped.

I have known people who have let the pain of their heart ruin their marriage, their relationship with their children, ruin their career, ruin their life. If we only focus on the pain and the suffering, we will be held captive and our lives will be ruined. Jesus asked Mary “Why are you weeping.” Don’t focus on the loss, focus on the VICTORY! Don’t stop at the cross, Praise God for the Empty Tomb. Praise God for the Resurrection!

jesus-wears-the-cross-on-his-chestJesus doesn’t wear an “S” on his chest. He wears the cross, because He conquered the cross! He endured the Cross for the Joy that was set before Him. The joy was not heaven, He already had that. The Joy was seeing His VICTORY GIVEN TO YOU AND ME! He wants to MARK our HEART with the Victory of the Resurrection!

Mark Your Ball With “JPT”

Dr David Cook is a renown sports psychologist. He has written a book titled Golf’s Sacred Journey. He was invited to speak and discuss the book at a gathering of Christian golfers at the number one golf course in the World, Pine Valley. These men were all great golfers, successful executives. The last day he was paired up with one of the greatest amateurs. He had a horrible reputation fro being a raging maniac on the course. His attitude had kept him from making it to the pro’s, and had affected his success in business. In the short devotion before they played,

pine-valley-hole-18Dr Cook told him I am going to teach you something that will change the way you approach life. God wants to use golf to change eternity. You’ll never play well until you understand God’s purpose for your life, and that is to use your life to change eternity. God wants to use everything in your life to effect eternity. God wants to use your Golf to change this world for eternity. This game is not about you.It is not about your score, it is not about how you look to other people, it is about God and what He wants to do in your life and the lives of the people you play with.

Gave him a verse I Thess 5:16-17: Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances – Joy Prayer Thanksgiving

So he marked his ball with “JPT”

He said “I want you to go and play a great game, but no matter what you do, always have Joy and Give Thanks, whether you birdie, bogey or double bogey. And as you play, pray! This is why God called you, to use your game to change the eternity of those you play with.

Everyone was noticing a different attitude. He was playing great, and was 4 under par at the 12th hole. He was 30 yards out on the 12th hole. He went to hit an easy chip shot for a certain birdie when he duffed it. He hit the ball only two feet. You could just see him turn inward and start to go ballistic. David rushed to his side and said “remember, this game is not about you, it about your purpose in changing eternity. The enemy wants to use circumstances to take you out, to render you powerless. He wants to embarrass you on the golf course. He uses three weapons, “KILL STEAL & DESTROY” That’s how he makes you powerless. Look at your ball, what does it say: “JPT” – Joy Prayer Thanksgiving. Those are your weapons to change your world for eternity.

He calms down, says a quick prayer of thanksgiving and ends up bogeying the hole. He keeps on playing and gets back to 4 under. The last hole and he’s feeling great, everybody is noticing his new attitude. He hits a mighty drive 330 yards and it hits directly into a bunker at the foot of the green. Three feet down from the top. The ball is buried. He goes to his ball and he starts yelling for David to come!

jpt-ball-markLook at this! The only thing showing is the “JPT”. He’s on his knee’s praising God. He says David, this is my message from God. From now on I will use JPT to change the eternity of those around me. No matter how deeply I’m buried I will praise God.

Jesus is before you and he is looking into your heart. He sees the hurt, the disappointment, the bitterness, the coldness, the pride, the scars upon your heart. He wants to mark your heart with JPT, because He has conquered all! He overcame the devil, He overcame sin and our alienation from God. Satan has no claim on us anymore. If we place our life in Jesus, we share in His death, His burial and His resurrection. We already died, so Satan has no power over us. Hebrews 2:14,15 says: “that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil; and might deliver those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.”

Just because we are in a bad place, buried in the sand, doesn’t mean we have to stay there, crying or angry or frustrated. We all have to go there at times, but we don‘t have to stay there. Jesus has already gone there, and He has given us His victory! Satan wants to kill your love for God, he wants to steal your heart away from loving God, he wants to detroy your effectiveness and testimony.

hebrews-2-14_15Jesus has changed this World for eternity. He has overcome every terrible situation that you could every encounter in your life. He assures us that “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Rom 8:28 Through the resurrection we can mark our hearts with “JPT”

The resurrection of Jesus Christ signaled the defeat of Satan, sin and death. But we fail to see the power of the resurrection when we fail to see the power it has for our lives. Jesus knows you will have heartbreak, sorrow, tears, disappointment, mistakes, struggles, you name it, Jesus knows you will have it. But Jesus still stands before you and says: “You don’t need to weep!”

Jesus wants us to know that no matter the tragedy we will face, if we allow His Resurrection to EMPOWER US, he will transform heartbreak and sorrow into POWER to LIVE and LOVE Life. Hebrews 12:2 records that Jesus endured the cross for the joy that was set before Him. Jesus had to go to the cross to get to that joy. That joy is knowing that you and I can share in His victory. Our lives can be transformed because Jesus went there to get there.

2-cor-3-18Paul reveals:

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18 (NASB)

Jesus Christ wants to change us, to reveal His Glory in us. He wants to mark our hearts just like you mark a golf ball. Only He wants to mark it with the power of the Resurrection! Through His HeartMark you will be changed into His Glory! You will be victorious.

You can focus on the pain, the heartache, the broken promises. Or you can focus your life on the Victory of Jesus Christ! You can mark your heart with bitterness and pain, or Joy Prayer and Thanksgiving! The Power of the Resurrection is only experienced as we focus on Jesus and His Victory! If you focus on your problems and your sad situation you are defeated. You are like Mary, staring at the tomb and wondering what you are going to do. Jesus is standing before you saying WHY ARE YOU WEEPING. Whose Mark is on your Heart? Are you willing to claim the victory of Jesus for your life?Are you willing to see your life as changing this world for eternity? Are you willing to have Joy, to Pray in every circumstance, to Thank God for everything? To Believe that Jesus is Victorious?

Joseph

joseph-Heart MarkJoseph was one of the most mis-treated people you could ever meet. He was betrayed by his brothers, falsely accused and thrown into a horrible prison. He was betrayed once again and if had been like most people would have become bitter and angry and rotted away. But he had JPT on his heart. How do I know? Because when he was finally placed on high as the second migthtiest man in the world, and had a chancve to get even with his mean brothers, he said “ You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good! Only someone with JPT on their heart could say that.

Peter

If anyone could ever say he was not fit to follow Jesus, it would be Peter. Such a man with big dreams. He told Jesus he would follow him anywhere. Why he even picked up a sword and tried to prevent a squadron of soldiers from taking Jesus away. He obviously was not a trained swordsman. He only managed to cut off a servants ear.

peter-denies-jesus-meltonWhen push came to shove, and Jesus needed him, Peter was afraid to go with him to the Governors’s court. A simple servant girl, cousin to Malchus, whose ear Peter cut off, said “I know I’ve seen you with Jesus”. He started speaking fisherman and denied he had ever known Jesus. Then he heard the rooster crow for the third time. Peter wept bitterly. All his hopes, dreams plans perished with Jesus on the cross. Peter was a failure, Jesus was a failure. I imagine he was relieved when he heard that Jesus had died. At least his betrayal did not mean anything.

How his guilt came streaming over him when he heard the tomb was empty. He ran to the grave, he went in. There was no body. Peter had failure and regret inscribed upon his heart. Then one morning he saw Jesus on the banks of the sea. Embarrassed Peter jumped into the water and reluctantly swam ashore. There Jesus asked him a funny question. “Do you Love me?” Semantics aside, Jesus wanted Peter to erase the bad heart mark and replace it with LOVE! The Resurrection is the greatest LOVE mark you can ever place on your heart! Do you LOVE me? Then don’t weep, don’t let your heart be destroyed. Love Jesus, Love His Resurrection! Let that be your Heart Mark!

Prodigal Son

prodigal-heart markThe prodigal son broke his father’s heart. He took his inheritance and wasted it on every despicable thing you can imagine. Finally he came to the end of himself and found himself feeding the pigs. But there, amidst the stench and squalor of his life, he remembered the love of his father. His heart still had a touch of his father’s love. He went home to discover that his Father’s love is overwhelming, matchless, victorious. He allowed the Father’s Love to Mark his Heart!

Isaac

Isaac was a young boy when his father Abraham said they were going to Mt Moriah. When Abraham told his servants to stay there, for he and Isaac were going to worship, we can only surmise what was going through Isaac’s mind. isaacFinally he cried out Father, “where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Abraham said God would provide. What horror must have been in his eyes as he watched his father raise the knife, because he was the sacrifice! When the angel stopped Abraham’s hand, I know that Isaac did not hesitate to get off the altar. But I know that indelibly etched upon his heart was the image of the ram that God indeed provide for the offering. He could have been that offering, but God provided another.

The sacrifice of that ‘lamb’ was indelibly inscribed upon young Isaac’s heart. And so should the Sacrifice and Victory of Jesus be inscribed upon ours.

jesus-gives-us-victoryJesus Christ is the only begotten son of God. He stepped forward and said I’ll save them. I’ll go to the cross. I’ll drink the cup of God’s wrath. Because He died on the cross and rose from the dead, WE HAVE LIFE! We are not defeated. We can stamp JPT on our hearts. We can have Joy no matter the heartache. We can have continual prayer with our Father who loves us. We can be thankful for all things because we know that all things work to good for those who love God.

WHY ARE YOU WEEPING? WHY ARE YOU DEFEATED? WHY ARE YOU LETTING THE ENEMY TAKE YOU OUT, EMBARRASS YOU, RENDER YOU POWERLESS. WHY DO LET HIM STEAL KILL AND DESTROY. LOOK AT THE INITIALS ON YOUR HEART – JPT. BECAUSE JESUS LIVES WE HAVE JOY WE HAVE PRAYER WE HAVE THANKSGIVING! WE HAVE TOTAL VICTORY! LET THE RESURRECTION BE YOUR HEARTMARK!

When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:54-57 (ESV)

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