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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

AWESOME GOD, AWESOME BOOK!!!

Deuteronomy 30:1-3
“1 Now it shall come to pass, when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God drives you, 2 and you return to the Lord your God and obey His voice, according to all that I command you today, you and your children, with all your heart and with all your soul, 3 that the Lord your God will bring you back from captivity, and have compassion on you, and gather you again from all the nations where the Lord your God has scattered you.
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We serve an awesome God Who has given us an awesome book in the Bible!  Watch and see how He lines His word up to assure us that He all things are going according to His plan.
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In the opening verse God is speaking to Israel and telling them that they will be scattered among all the nations of the world.  But there would come a time when He would bring them back to their own land in the fullness of time and restore them as a nation.
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This cannot be referring to their captivity in Babylon or Assyria because the Bible records they returned to their land from only those nations.  They were scattered into all the nations of the world after the Romans destroyed the Temple in 70AD.
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They remained scattered around the world for 2,000 years until the year 1948 when the United Nations voted in favor of giving them a place to call home. 
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Now, on our calendar, it was the year 1948.  But the way the Jewish people measure time, it was the year 5708.  Here’s the part that blows my mind:
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The verse in bold letters just happens to be the 5,708th verse counting from Genesis 1:1.  

AWESOME GOD!!!  AWESOME BOOK!!!







Tuesday, June 5, 2018

The Curious Story Of Jonah

Jonah 1:1-3
"Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.” But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord."
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So begins one of the strangest stories in the Bible:  Jonah.  It starts out well enough with the LORD giving a word to Jonah telling him to go preach to the wicked city of Nineveh.  
Why these people? Because God is a God of compassion Who wanted to give these people a chance to repent from their great evil.  They were so bad and hated the Jews so much, they had many imprisoned, tortured, and even killed.
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Because they treated the Jewish people so terribly, Jonah wanted the Ninevites to die, not get saved.  He wanted no part of preaching to them.  So he fled; ran as far away in the opposite direction as he could.
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Escape Plan.
First he went down to the seaport of Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish.  
Nobody knows exactly where Tarshish is, though many scholars believe it was way over on the the Atlantic Ocean of Spain.  That’s about 3,000 miles away.  He paid the fare, boarded the ship, and tried to make good his escape.  

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Jonah paid the fare, boarded the ship, and tried to make his escape.  The LORD didn't let him get too far, however.  He sent a great wind which kicked up a mighty tempest that was so strong, the ship nearly broke apart!  
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Needless to say, the sailors were terrified.  Each man cried out to their respective “gods” for help to no avail.  No surprise there.  They tried to lighten the ship by throwing everything they could overboard.  That had no effect.
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They were in grave peril, every hand on deck, struggling and straining to save themselves.  But as they looked around, they noticed someone was missing:  Jonah.  


Where the heck was he?  The captain went to investigate.
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Where Is Jonah?
Jonah had gone down into the lowest part of the ship.  He not only wasn’t pulling his weight up on deck, he was down in the lowest part of the ship, fast asleep!  
The captain finally found him and said In chapter 1, verse 6, “What do you mean, sleeper? Arise, call on your God; perhaps your God will consider us, so that we may not perish.” 
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Does this scene ring any bells?  Yep, you guessed it.  Just like Jesus, he was unconcerned about the storm. 
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Lottery.
While the captain was down chiding Jonah, meanwhile up on deck the crew decided to cast lots to see who was responsible for the terrible tempest.  Let's follow the story:
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Jonah 1:7-9  "And they said to one another, “Come, let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this trouble has come upon us.” So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah. 
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Then they said to him, “Please tell us! For whose cause is this trouble upon us? What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? And of what people are you?”
So he said to them, “I am a Hebrew; and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.”

As soon as they heard his words, they were VERY afraid!  They asked him, "Why have you done this?"  
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Ah, now the light dawns.  You see, they realized that Jonah had fled from the presence of the LORD.  They knew that this man would know what they needed to do to calm the storm.  But they were stunned by his answer.
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Throw Me Into The Sea.
Jonah 1:12
"And he said to them, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea; then the sea will become calm for you. For I know that this great tempest is because of me.”

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What?  Throw him overboard?  Who is the guy?  Some kind of a nut?  Well, they didn't think that was a very sound idea, so they tried to row against the storm and reach the shore.  But the storm only grew greater.  They could not make any headway.  They finally did a very wise thing:  They cried out to the LORD.
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Jonah 1:14-16
"Therefore they cried out to the Lord and said, “We pray, O Lord, please do not let us perish for this man's life, and do not charge us with innocent blood; for You, O Lord, have done as it pleased You.” So they picked up Jonah and threw him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging. Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice to the Lord and took vows."
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Instant Believers!
Look at that!  The sea became calm the instant Jonah went into the sea!  The instant calm created instant believers!  Look at the last line:
"Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice to the Lord and took vows."

No more "other gods!"

The LORD was waiting for this event.  Had a great fish prepared to swallow Jonah and there he remained for three days.

If that isn't the most fantastic tale I don't know what is.....and it's all true.  This event really happened to a real person.  But the Holy Spirit has recorded it for us to tell us about Jesus. 
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Jonah Goes To Nineveh.
Jonah 3:1-3
"Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you.” So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord."
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At last, Jonah not only hears the word of the LORD.  He obeys His word, goes to Nineveh, and delivers a stern warning.  Lets' read on.
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Jonah 3:4-5
"And Jonah began to enter the city on the first day's walk. Then he cried out and said, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!”  So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them."
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(King Of Nineveh repents.)
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(The people of Nineveh repent.)

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Repentance.
Now, Jonah had just come from his ordeal of being in the belly of a great fish for 3 days.  Being affected by all those digestive juices, he must have looked terrible!  They took one look at him, heard his words, and believed him.  They all, from the king to the lowest man, repented in sackcloth and ashes.
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Not only that, the king sent out a decree for a total fast; no eating or drinking by either man or anima.  He commanded that everyone to turn from their evil ways and cry mightily to God.  Perhaps He would turn away His fierce anger and spare them.
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God Of Grace.
Look at God's response:
Jonah 3:10
"Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it."
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They were so sincere about Jonah's message that they tore down all their idols and determined to follow the True God.
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WOW!!!  How would you like to preach a sermon and the whole stadium get saved?  You'd think that Jonah would be happy at the outcome.  No more torturing and killing of his people.  Maybe they could finally live in peace.  
But no, Jonah was not pleased.  In fact, he was so angry he wished death for himself.
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Not a very good attitude, is it?  But isn't he just like us sometimes?  We humans often have this sense of justice that wants to see the guilty get what they deserve.  But God isn't like that.  He is a God of grace:  UNdeserved favor.  He gives us what we DON'T deserve because Another took what we DO deserve.
Good thing, because if He gave us what we actually do deserve, we would all go to hell.  
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But God SO LOVED us that He sent His only begotten Son, that WHOSOEVER believes in Him should NOT PERISH, but have eternal life.
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Portraits Of Jesus.
In this story, we are reading what Jonah did.  All of it is a picture of Jesus.  
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Throughout these four chapters are pictures of what He did for us.  Count the number of times it says he went down:  1. Jonah went down to Joppa.  
2.  He found a ship that was going down to Tarshish.  
3. He went down into it.  
4. He went down into the lowest part of the ship.  
5. He went down into the sea.  6.  He went down into the belly of a great fish. 
That's 6 times.  Add one more to Jesus' story and you have seven times.  #1:  He came down from heaven.  That makes seven times He came down.  
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No one before or since has humbled himself more than our Lord Jesus.  He emptied himself of all He was and all that He had.  He was made in the likeness of men.  Because He did that, He is exalted above all others and given the Name that is above EVERY Name.  That at the Name of Jesus, EVERY KNEE should bow.
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Name Your Problem.
What name is holding you hostage?  Do you need healing from a disease?  At the Name of Jesus, you disease must bow.  Do you have a financial need?  At the Name of Jesus, that need must bow.  Do you need healing in your marriage or relationships?  At the Name of Jesus, that must bow!
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Name your problem.  Jesus has overcome it!
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There are pictures of what Jesus suffered for us.  He died and was in the "belly of the earth" for three days.  But God did not leave Him there.  He rose again with a new, incorruptible body to be our Great High Priest forever after the order Of Melchizedek!   He is the greater Jonah!
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Timeline.
But I see something else.  This curious story is a timeline of events involving Jesus, Israel, and the Church.  
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Let's think for a moment:  Why did Jesus come to earth the first time He was here?  He answered that question personally, in Matthew 15:24.
“I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
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He came to His own people first.  But they ultimately rejected Him, both in their homeland and in the diaspora, so God began to offer salvation to the Gentiles.
For 2,000 years, the Jewish people wandered from place to place finding only sorrow, persecution, rejection, and death.  Finally, they were given a land to call home in 1948 when the State of Israel was born.
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During that 2,000 year period, the non-Jewish nations of the world believed the message of the Gospel and were saved in droves.  They went throughout the world preaching the Gospel to others, bringing great joy to God's heart.  I softened the rejection He felt from His own people.
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Today, many Jewish people are discovering that Jesus was, indeed, the Messiah for whom they had waited and that they missed their first visitation.  The Church is now comprised of both saved Jewish and no-Jews alike!
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The men in the boat who threw Jonah overboard are a picture of the Jewish people in their rejection of Jesus as their Messiah.  As soon as he went into the sea, it became completely calm.
Afterward as you know, he was swallowed by a great fish, was in its belly for 3 days, and then spit out onto the land.
First and foremost, this depicts Jesus in His death, being in the "Belly of the earth for three days."  
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The sea is a depiction of the nations of the world, meaning Gentiles.  Jonah's name in Hebrew, "Ionah," means, "Dove."  
Fish are typically a picture of individual believers.  But what swallowed Jonah was a GREAT FISH, in whose belly he was for three days.
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Who has had Jesus primarily all to themselves for 2,000 years?  The Church!  Are we filled with the Holy Spirit?  YES!!!  I submit to you that this GREAT FISH is a Holy Spirit picture of the Church in whom lives the Spirit of God:  The Dove: Ionah!
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So now, maybe the Story of Jonah doesn't seem so curious after all.












Thursday, May 17, 2018

The First-Born Blessing: Double Portion!

Romans 8:11
“But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”
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What an amazing verse that tells us we have living within us the Spirit of Him Who raised Jesus from the dead.  That's power!!!
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As if that weren't good enough, we have a DOUBLE PORTION of the power of the Trinity right here in this short little verse.  I'm sure you noticed the bold words in RED.  The Trinity is mentioned TWICE.  Double portion of the Trinity is a picture of the First-Born blessing!  
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To read more about the first-born and what it means, please follow the link below:
https://emmausroadministries.wordpress.com/2016/04/24/ephraim-and-the-house-of-judah-part-2-of-9/
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One Blessing, Three Persons, Double Portion.
Let's take a closer look at this verse and see the Trinity mentioned twice:
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"The Spirit of Him Who raised Jesus from the dead..." Let's expand and rephrase the first part to clarify.  "If the Spirit/the Holy Spirit of the Him/the Father Who raise Jesus/the Son..."  Here we have the Holy Spirit, the Father, and the Son mentioned once.  That's great in and of itself!  
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Here's the second half of this powerful verse:  "He/the Father Who raised Christ/the Son from the dead shall also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit/the Holy Spirit Who dwells within you." 
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Promise For Here, Not Hereafter.
Notice it says that He will give life to your “Mortal bodies?”  This promise is not for after you die or after Jesus comes again, it specifically says, “Mortal bodies.”  This promise is for us, here and now, while we walk this earth!  

He came to give us LIFE, not death.  LIFE to your mortal bodies means “Health.”  We get to walk in the power of the Trinity NOW.
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God And Man.
That's a double portion of the power of the Trinity in one verse!  But I see something else.  Notice that the first mention of the Son is "Jesus" and the second mention of the Son is "Christ."  This is no accident!
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 In the Gospels, you see Jesus called or referred to as “Jesus Christ.”  Jesus is mentioned first and Christ, His title, is mentioned second.  But in the epistles, you often see it reversed.  You and I are sanctified “in Christ Jesus.”  Why?
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Jesus’ Name literally means, “Salvation;” But Christ means, “Messiah.”  Before He shed His blood, He was the “Promised Messiah,” but after He rose from the dead, He is forevermore “the Promise FULFILLED!”  That’s why you and I are referred to as “IN Christ Jesus.”  
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This verse is beautifully portrayed in the construction of the tabernacle of Moses.  To read all about it and see more wonderful things about our Lord Jesus, please follow the link below, but I warn you, it's a rather lengthy discussion:
https://emmausroadministries.wordpress.com/2016/12/07/four-times-covered/
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What an awesome God we have, Who gives us double portion of the first-born blessing!




Thursday, March 15, 2018

The Seven Last Words Of Jesus

The seven last words of Jesus show us some awesome things about Him, our Father, and show how much He loved us.
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The First Word.
Luke 23:34 “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” 
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Jesus had just endured the cruelest torture man can inflict on man.  It's amazing to me He could speak at all!
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The first word He uttered was a prayer to His Father, showing us who was on His mind:  US—His people.  He was thinking of you and I!  In effect, He was putting all Israel, and you and I, under the Trespass offering.  This is critical to understand. 
What is this offering and what does it mean to be placed under it?
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The Trespass Offering.
This is last of the five offerings outlined in the first five chapters of Leviticus.  It covered the offerer of any and all sins of which he was unaware.  
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You see, the Jewish people didn't understand that Jesus was the Messiah.  When they conspired to have Him crucified, they thought He was just a man.  Being unaware that He was the Son of God, Jesus had great compassion on them and put them under the trespass offering so that their guilt and judgment would be lessened.  
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For more on the Trespass Offering, the links below contain more information: 

https://emmausroadministries.wordpress.com/2017/01/21/the-five-offerings-of-leviticus-part-9-of-10-the-trespass-offering-asham-אָשָׁם/
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https://emmausroadministries.wordpress.com/2016/05/07/the-kingdom-of-heaven-part-6-of-16-rightly-dividing-the-word-of-god/
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The Second Word.
Luke 23:43  “Today you will be with me in paradise.”
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Jesus demonstrated in so saying that He is the God of the living, not the dead.  You see, when you die, you don't dissipate into some formless, mindless vapor or whispy nothingness; you go on living somewhere.  
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God Breathed His Spirit Into Adam.
When God made man way back in Genesis, he was nothing more than a lifeless mannequin, until God breathed life into him.  He was filled with the Spirit of God, which CANNOT DIE.  This became the biggest problem of all after the fall.  
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You see, when Adam sinned, HE DIED SPIRITUALLY.  In that state, he would be deserving of hell but for the blood that covered them from the sacrifices he was taught to offer to cover sins.  These animal sacrifices could not take away their sin, mind you.  They could only cover them.  But they reminded God of THE FINAL SACRIFICE JESUS WOULD OFFER in the distant future. It was credited to him as righteousness.
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Your Spirit Cannot Die.
There is ample scriptural proof of that in the story of the Rich man and Lazarus that your spirit goes on living after you die.  Remember them?  
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The rich man in life had been selfish and cruel while Lazarus, who was a poor beggar, had nothing.  The rich man feasted to his heart’s content while Lazarus was lucky to get the crumbs from his table. 
Then one day, both of them died.  Lazarus was ushered into Paradise, but the rich man went to the place of suffering.  This was not because of his riches, you understand. The only thing that sends anyone to hell is rejecting Jesus or, in their case, not offering right sacrifices to God to remind Him of Jesus.
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Being in great torment, the rich man looked across the great gulf separating the two and he saw Lazarus afar off, resting peacefully in what the Jewish people called, “The Bosom of Abraham.”  Since each could recognize the other, you obviously have eyes to see.  You also have a form similar to that which you had while you were alive so that others can tell it is you. 
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There is a whole lot more on this topic which we cannot cover here.  Please follow the link below for more on this story:
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https://emmausroadministries.wordpress.com/2016/04/26/promissory-notes-passover-series-part-4-of-4
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The Third Word.
John 19:26-27 "When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!” Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.“Behold your son: behold your mother.”  
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The Importance Of Family.
Jesus demonstrated that family is important.  He will always protect and provide for us, His family.  Though in horrific physical pain, being fully human, He made sure that His mother would be well cared for when He went back to His Father.
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The only disciple at the foot of the cross was the youngest: John.  All the others had gone into hiding for fear of the Jews.  Peter, who had betrayed Him three times, was off somewhere else, terribly ashamed of himself for what he had done.
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John, you recall, was the one who called himself, “The disciple whom Jesus loved,” in the gospel he wrote.  He is the one who leaned on Jesus’ breast at supper and was the only one who knew who the betrayer was. 
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The Fourth Word.
"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
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God is a Holy God.  He cannot be in the presence of sin.  All throughout the Old Testament, the only way He could be close to His people was to veil His countenance or everyone who looked on Him would die.

When Jesus took human form and walked this earth, He always called God, "Father."  THIS IS THE ONLY TIME IT IS RECORDED THAT HE CALLED HIM, "My God."  Why?
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Because it was at this moment up until He cried, "Finished," that He carried our sins in His body and gave His soul as an offering for sin." THE FATHER HAD TO TURN HIS BACK ON HIS BELOVED SON AND UNLEASH ALL OF THE PUNISHMENT DUE FOR ALL OF OUR SINS UNTIL THE LAST ONE WAS PAID FOR IN FULL.
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Judgment mercilessly rained down on Him as He bore the sins of the whole world.  It was at this time that He lost fellowship with His beloved Father and was separated from Him.  He did it so that you and I would never EVER be able to fall out of fellowship with God or be separated from Him. 
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This is so poignantly demonstrated in the almost sacrifice God asked of Abraham.  For more on that topic, please follow the link below:
https://emmausroadministries.wordpress.com/2016/05/19/isaac-and-rebecca-patriarch-series-part-2/
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The Fifth Word.
John 19:28 "After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!”
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Hebrews 12:28 says that our God is a "Consuming Fire."  All those sins which were placed on Him were quite literally burned away.  No wonder Jesus cried, "I thirst."
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Even though crucifixion was THE CRUELEST form of capital punishment which the Romans perfected, they would offer the one suffering sour wine which was supposed to ease their pain.-
Jesus tasted it but did not drink it, choosing instead to bear the pain of paying for our sins fully.  His action redeemed us from generational curses.  
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For more on that topic, please follow the link below:    https://emmausroadministries.wordpress.com/2016/02/28/sour-grapes/
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Church, once you are redeemed by the blood of Jesus, YOU ARE NOT UNDER ANY CURSES OF ANY KIND.
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Balaam found this to be true when he was hired by the king of Moab to put a curse on the Children of Israel when they were wandering around in the desert.

If you're interested in reading that story, please feel free to follow the link below:
https://emmausroadministries.wordpress.com/2016/07/20/the-the-error-of-balaam-and-the-doctrine-of-the-nicolaitans-2/
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The Sixth Word.
John 19:30 "So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said,It is finished!”
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Jesus FINISHED the work!  He fulfilled all the law.  He fully paid for any and all judgment for our wrong-doing so that it would not fall on us who have accepted His sacrifice as our own.  Not one Jot (yod) or tittle passed from the law.  God overlooked NOTHING!
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This is often something that many believers do not fully grasp.  There are sincere pastors, teachers, and even theologians with PhD's who still do not understand that we are not under the Law anymore; we are under grace.
Understand, this does not make us "LawLESS," but rather even more "LawFULL."  Why?
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The Man Or The Map?
Because you and I, Church, don't need external Law to tell us right from wrong.  We have the Holy Spirit INSIDE who leads and guides us into all truth.  What would you rather have?  The Man, Jesus, Who wrote the map, or would you rather have the map, the Law?
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For more on that topic, please follow the link below:
https://emmausroadministries.wordpress.com/2016/03/06/the-man-or-the-map/
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The Seventh Word.
Luke 23:44-46  "44 Now it was[l] about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. 45 Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two. 46 And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’” Having said this, He breathed His last."
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Jesus wasn't murdered. He wasn't killed.  He willingly laid down His life for us.  Though His wounds were great, they didn't cause His death.  He had to dismiss His spirit as one would dismiss a servant because in His presence, no one, including Jesus, can die.  
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In John 10:18 Jesus Himself says, "No one takes it (His life) from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again."
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Image result for death by crucifixion
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Death By Crucifixion.
Many people throughout history suffered crucifixion at the hands of the Romans.  Scientists have studied the skeletons of people killed in this manner.  The skulls of all of them were cracked at the back and their neck bones showed that they bent as far back as possible.  
Why?  
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Because they had to struggle for every breath as their lungs collapsed.  It was a desperate attempt to gasp for air, which is why they would break the legs of the dying person.  When they could no longer push themselves up in order to breathe, they died of asphyxiation.
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Jesus however, did not die in this manner.  HE BOWED HIS HEAD FORWARD, demonstrating that He was in complete control.  THEN.....He dismissed His spirit and breathed His last.
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He went through all this to redeem you me.  It was His unquenchable desire to save all of us that kept Him going.  But He had another reason.  He wanted to vindicate His Father’s Name and bring honor and glory to Him.
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What a God!!!  What a Savior!!!