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“Near The Cross”

Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother, and his mother’s sister (Salome), Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw His mother and the disciple standing by, whom He loved (John)… -John 19:25-26

When Jesus was crucified, there were a number of people who stood near the cross. We pray and sing, “Keep me near the cross”, but what does it really mean to be near the cross where Jesus was crucified? I am not speaking about a literal, physical presence, but I am referring to a spiritual positiona special relationship to Jesus Christ.

John gives us insight by name to several people who stood near the cross when Jesus faced the crucifixion. From these we can understand what it means to be near the cross.

Mary MagdaleneA Place of Redemption

Luke 8:2 tells us that Mary Magdalene was a woman whom Jesus had cast out seven demons. She had been in bondage to Satan for a long time, doing terrible things. Then, Jesus came and cast out the demons and delivered her from bondage.

When a person trusts in Jesus Christ for deliverance, these same marvelous changes take place in their life. The individual goes from darkness to light; from the power of Satan to the power of God; from being guilty to experiencing forgiveness; and from being spiritually impoverished to becoming spiritually wealthy. That is what Jesus did for Mary Magdalene. Standing near the cross, Mary saw the price paid for her deliverance. Jesus died that we might be redeemed and bought back from bondage. It is no wonder that Mary stood near the cross, because she had experienced deliverance from sin and the gift of salvation.

SalomeA Place of Rebuke

Who is Salome? Most Bible scholars identify her as Jesus’ mother’s sister, the wife of Zebedee and the mother of James and John. As the mother of James and John, she was one who asked Jesus a very selfish request: “Can my two sons have places of honor in God’s Kingdom?” Jesus’ response to her was, it is not His to give away. Salome forgot the cost of the reward. There are many times that we can be selfish in our desires, thinking about ourselves. As we draw near to the cross, we see Jesus and not our selfish ambitions and motives.

Mary, the mother of Jesus 

A Place of Reward Mary was Jesus’ earthly mother. He did not ignore her on the cross, but rewarded her by sharing His beloved disciple with her. Why did Jesus reward her? Because of the suffering Mary was willing to endure. She suffered shame, reproach, and gossip when she was found to be with child while engaged to Joseph. She suffered emotionally as she felt the climax of Simeon’s prophecy concerning the death of her son and as she watched her innocent son suffer and die in a public and shameful death. Jesus felt her sorrow and suffering as He hung on the cross and He rewarded her. Likewise, He rewards those who suffer with Him; then we shall reign with Him.

JohnA Place of Restoration and Responsibility

For John, to be at the cross was to stand at a place of restoration and responsibility. John stood at the cross restored, for he, along with the other disciples, had forsaken Jesus and fled for their lives at the garden of Gethsemane. However, John returned to the cross restored and forgiven. Jesus gave him the responsibility to care for His mother. As we stand near the cross, it is a place of restoration and responsibility as Jesus forgives and restores us in our relationship to God. He gives us the responsibility to be an example and tell others of the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.

As we prepare for Easter, let us keep our eyes and hearts near to the cross as we recognize what Jesus did for all of us. The cross is a place of redemption, rebuke, reward, restoration, and responsibility. Let us value the great love that Jesus has for us. Until then, let us continue…

Changing Lives For Eternity!

With Love,
Pastors Terry & Tina Richardson  


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“Every Tribe, Every Nation”

“But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me
the commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go! – John 14:31
 

As Jesus met with his disciples in the Upper Room the last week of his life on earth, in brief synopsis He gave them the heart of God: Missions! He said, “that the world may know.” Jesus did not mean just knowledge of His Father, but that every tribe and every nation might know the Father intimately and closely in fellowship and communion. You see, that is still God’s desire: every tribe, tongue and nation would know Him.

Missions must continue to be our focus because how will the world “know” Him unless we tell them. We can no longer hide behind the security and safety of the church walls, but we must arise and go.

Consider the following: If the world’s population was reduced to only 100 people in this world –

  • 66 people out of the 100 would not be Christians;
  • 2/3 of all people groups of the world have never heard about Jesus Christ – the Savior of the world;
  • 70 out of the 100 would be illiterate with no reading or writing skills;
  • 50 out of the 100 would go to bed hungry; and
  • 80 out of the 100 would live in substandard housing.
Here in the passage, we briefly see three insights:


Insight #1: Jesus’ Claim

Jesus’ claim was that He loved the Father. He was in love with His Father. Church, we must have a fresh love and passion for our Heavenly Father. Jesus wanted everyone to know His Father as He has known Him. Let us “know Him and make Him known.”

 

Insight #2: Jesus’ Command

Jesus’ claim led to His command. His command was to show the world the love of His Father through Him. That is our command as well: to tell and show others the wonderful, steadfast, unceasing love of God. We cannot hide what Jesus has done for us, but we must proclaim Him in being obedient to the command of Christ. You see, the Great Commission is not the Great Option or the Commission of Omission. This command is for all believers to tell of the love of the Father and show his love to all. We must rise and go!

Insight #3: Jesus’ Commitment

When you are obedient to Jesus’ command to rise and go, you can have the confidence that you are not going alone. In this verse, Jesus said, “let us rise.” What this means is that the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, comes along side of you equipping and empowering you to do what He has called you to do. For it is by His Spirit, that spiritual walls fall, and the captive is set free.

Be sure to be a part of our 2018, Mission Convention, “Every Tribe, Every Nation” the first Sunday of March as we focus on the harvest fields of the world. I am very grateful to all of our missionaries who make tremendous sacrifices to go to every tribe and nation. Let us remember to cover them in our prayers and with our financial support. Our missionaries are counting on us. Remember, every one of us is called to be missionaries wherever we go – whether at home, school, the market place, or work place. There must be an urgency about God’s mission to arise and go so that every tongue and nation may know and confess Jesus Christ as Lord! Until then, let us continue. . .

Changing Lives for Eternity!

With Love,

Pastor Terry & Tina Richardson


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“Home Remedies”

“And thou shalt love the Lord they God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might… And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house,  and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” – Deuteronomy 6:5-7

With television shows like Desperate Housewives, Wife Swap, The Bachelor, and The Simpsons, our view of what “family” is about can become distorted. However, from the very beginning of human life, God created the family as the basic foundation of society. We were created as relational beings, dependent on one another.

It is the relationship between the husband and wife, parents and children, and sibling to sibling which provides love, strength, and support to each other. Moses knew this, too. Moses, in leading the nation of Israel, had the awesome responsibility to convey and model God’s guidelines for a healthy family. With moral decay and spiritual erosion in our society, God has a remedy for the home, our marriages, and families, which include:

Live a Righteous Life
Moses was speaking in this passage to mothers and fathers. There are two things I have realized as a parent. First, the parental path is never ending. There is always a bend in the road, a valley to cross, and a hill to climb. How we travel the parental paths makes all the difference in our children’s’ lives. Only you, as a parent, can set the pattern for your children.

Love the Lord
We must model our love for the Lord to our children. In reality, through your relationship with God, you are teaching your children what God is like. Earthly fathers mirror a heavenly Father. Parents should love and forgive one another.

You see, there is a huge difference between “church going parents” and “Christloving parents.” What our children need to see in our homes are parents who have passionate relationships with God. It’s not the value or equity of your house which matters; it’s the worth of the love demonstrated in your home that counts.

Teach the Right Lessons
The primary responsibility of mom and dad is to teach their children the right lessons to grow and mature to be godly adults. Often, parents leave this up to the school or church; however, the home is the child’s first classroom. Teach your children that actions have consequences and that character counts. Stress in your family to love and forgive. Our homes are where our children learn basic skills of respect, kindness, and obedience to authority. Teach your children what to do, how to be disciplined, and to seek God. As Moses pointed out, teach and model the love of God to your family.

February is known as the month of love, but love should be demonstrated every day of the year. Show God’s love and compassion for one another. God wants your house to be more than a house – He wants it to be a home of love.

Finally, I encourage you to hear my Sunday series, “Home Remedies” because God has the remedy for healing and wholeness for our marriage and family relationships. It is my desire to see the marriages and families of our church grow stronger together with the Lord. Until then, let us continue …

Changing Marriages and Families! We love you!

Pastor Terry & Tina Richardson


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