Well, looks like old “Phil” really missed it this year.  Here we are the week before Easter/Resurrection Sunday and we’re still having snow and ice all over the place.  Oh well, how reassuring to know that our God is in charge of all things and doesn’t need a ground hog to advise HIM.  Aren’t you glad we serve the sovereign creator of the universe, and He never makes mistakes and had our redemption and us in mind when He created the world?  That fills my heart and soul with praise.  Ephesians 1:4 “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love…”  Jesus reminds us that He has chosen us John 15:6 “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

God also tells us that not only did He chose us but He determined to send Jesus, His beloved Son before the need arose, because He knew we would fail and He created us anyway and had already provided a way for our reclamation and redemption.  In John 17:4 Jesus prays, “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.”  We see here that Jesus existed before “creation”, but in Colossians 1:13-17 Paul tells us that Jesus was not only present before “creation”, but He was a part of creating all that exists.   “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.”  Also in 1 Peter 1:20 we see that His position as “redeemer” existed before as well, “Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,”.    How humbling to know that God loved me and planned for me the way to salvation-Jesus- before I was born and then called me unto Himself in His Son, Jesus Christ.

Isn’t it sad that we so often get “puffed up” in ourselves, our good Christian selves, instead of humbling ourselves before God and others?  What do we have to “puff-up” about?  Jesus reminds us in John 15:5 “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” And 1 Corinthians 2:2 says For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”   It’s only and always about JESUS!!!   And as we approach the season of HIS SACRIFICE, what better time to remind ourselves of HIM, and all that He has done, is doing and continues to do for us until His return-Philippians 1:6 “And being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you, will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.

In Daniel 3:16-18 “ Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” We see three men so confident in their God and devoted to obey and do HIS will that they defied the king’s edict and voiced their absolute confidence in God’s ability to deliver, but also boldly declared that even if God chose not to deliver them “out of “ the fire they would still trust HIM and not kneel (to the world).  What kind of confidence do we have in the risen Lord?  Paul reminds us that “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:13.  And Hebrews 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”   Our confidence is ONLY and ALWAYS in what Christ did at Calvary and all that He is doing now through the Holy Spirit, who indwells all true believers.

So how about some practical help to keep our eyes on Jesus?  First- Romans 12:1-2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”  We must commit ourselves to be the servants of Jesus and be aware of the enticements of the world and not conform to them.  Rather remembering Romans 8:29 “ For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”, walking “worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God….” Col. 1:10.  And as Paul declares before Felix in Acts 24:16And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void to offence toward God, and toward men.”  As we think this week of the coming celebration of the glorious RESURRECTION of our Lord Jesus Christ, may we “keep our eyes fixed on Jesus” as we daily (moment by moment) “offer ourselves a living sacrifice” and “walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing” that God might be glorified in our lives.  That others might be drawn to the Savior by our lives of love, devotion and holiness toward God and men.  May you have a glorious week of celebration, remembering the price that bought our salvation—the body and the blood of Jesus.  BUT PRAISE GOD HE AROSE—HE IS ALIVE –AND HE IS COMING SOON.  Even so Lord Jesus, come quickly.