July Pastor Message

July, the middle of the summer has arrived.  This month we Americans will
celebrate our freedom from the British on the 4th of July.  This is a
wonderful time to remember that by God’s grace, we live in the “Land of
the free and the home of the brave.”

Ironically, on the 23rd of this month, we also honor Mary Magdalene. Mary
was believed to have come from the town Magdala (Hebrew for strong
fortress).  This town name reflects the strong steadfast faith of Mary.

Mary enters with “certain women ministering to Jesus” (Luke 8:2); all of
them out of gratitude from being delivered from evil spirits and
infirmities. Of Mary it is written, that she was “delivered from seven
demons.”  (Mark 16:9)  Mary always remembered how much she suffered when
demon possessed, and then freed by Jesus.  Her response by faith was to
cling to Jesus no matter what.

Mary was numbered with the other women who “stood far off” (and watched
Jesus die on the cross).  After Jesus had died, Mary stayed at the cross,
and watched as the body of the Master was taken down, wrapped in linen,
and placed in the Garden where the tomb of Joseph of Arimethea was
located.  After the Jewish Sabbath, early on Easter Sunday morning, Mary
went with the women who went to anoint the body of Jesus with burial
spices.

It turned out to be a huge Sunday morning, for Mary Magdalene. When the
women arrived at the tomb, the stone was rolled away, and there was no
body of the Master, with angels inside the tomb.  They asked them, “Why do
look for the living among the dead?  He is not here.  He is risen from the
dead. Go back and tell the disciples.”  So, the women ran back to
Jerusalem and found the disciples in hiding and told them the great news.
John and Peter then ran back to the tomb, and Mary Magdalene followed
them.

When they got to the tomb, John and Peter went inside and found the burial
linens, but no body of Jesus.  So, amazed, they returned to Jerusalem.
Mary stayed at the tomb.  Two angels appeared to Mary and asked, “Woman,
why are you crying??”  Mary replied,
“They have taken my Lord away, and I don’t know where they have put Him.”
Mary then turned and saw man she though was the Gardener, who a Jesus.  He
said to Mary, “Why are you crying?  Who is it you are looking for?”  Mary
replied, “Sir, if you have taken Him away, tell me where you have put Him,
and I will get Him.” Jesus then turned to her and said, “Mary.” (John 20)

The Psalmist, King David, tells us “in sin our mother did conceive us.”
When we came into this world, we are born as slaves to sin, Satan, and
death.  So, Jesus came down from above to conquer sin, Satan, and death.
Now, the freest anyone can be in this fallen and broken world, is by
having faith in Jesus as their personal Savior.

Have a Great July  Pastor Brad Rick

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