Tag: Resurrection

Maybe We Should Let Some Things Die

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How long can we keep gripping the slightest sliver of hope? Should we?

Is holding on for dear life always the best course of action?

If our dreams and plans, yes, even our lives, are deemed as utter failure, or they’re cut short before becoming that which we intended, is that so bad?

Even if we’re convinced we’re doing everything for a righteous cause, that God’s honor is at stake, isn’t there a time to stop our powerless efforts and yield to Him?

For honest reflection, we must remember there is no resurrection without first a death, and victory never comes before the battle.

In many cases, the best thing we can do is exchange what we’ve called hope for simple trust.

What do I mean?

Hope is a powerful thing, yet at times it’s nothing more than wishful thinking. As long as there’s at least a small percentage of things working out, we’re hopeful and perky. 

But if and when things take a turn for the worse, we work ourselves into a frenzy trying to maintain our hope.

So instead, why not just give up and trust?

Maybe pretend our situation is akin to the story of Eutychus and Paul (Acts 20).

“On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight. There were many lamps in the upper room where we were gathered. And a young man named Eutychus, sitting at the window, sank into a deep sleep as Paul talked still longer. And being overcome by sleep, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead. But Paul went down and bent over him, and taking him in his arms, said, “Do not be alarmed, for his life is in him.” And when Paul had gone up and had broken bread and eaten, he conversed with them a long while, until daybreak, and so departed. And they took the youth away alive, and were not a little comforted.” (Acts 20:7-12 ESV) 

Our dreams, like Eutychus, can become so tired. All work, no joy, no life, and eventually they droop and sag until we’re worn out trying to keep them propped up.

But when we finally release our grip, and the results to the God of the resurrection, life becomes enjoyable once again.

At that point the plans and purposes, the calling of God, are within our grasp.

It’s the same with trusting God for our nation.

God has had a purpose, a calling, on this nation from its inception. But to make America great again will take more than a man, woman, or political party.

So maybe things need to die first, to make room for the resurrection.

Yes, we’re to do what we can. Faith AND works (and all that).

But you know what? Many times we never begin to REALLY trust until we’ve exhausted all our resources.

So, like I said, maybe things need to die, expire, or become even worse before we finally trust the God Who moves mountains and raises the dead.

Maybe THAT is what’s needed to make America great again…

 

Why was Jesus raised from the dead? These truths will excite you!

It’s that time of year again; the time when life is celebrated as a holiday. 

Easter.

I understand there are many Christians who can’t stand the word Easter, because of its pagan origin. Frankly, though I’m not wild about the word, I am okay with the concept of taking a pagan holiday and turning it into something new.

After all, it’s what the Resurrection of Jesus made possible for us all. 

In fact, the death and burial of the sinless Son of God would have meant nothing without the resurrection.

“Who was betrayed and put to death because of our misdeeds and was raised to secure our justification (our acquittal), [making our account balance and absolving us from all guilt before God].” (Romans 4:25 AMP)

In other words, He died to pay for our sins, and the Father’s “Amen” was forever demonstrated to mankind by the empty tomb.

So whether you prefer Easter Sunday or Resurrection Sunday, God still says the same thing; “everyone’s debt of sin has been paid once and for all. If it were not so, I would have never been able to raise My Son from the grave. The devil would have kept Him in the bowels of the earth.”

But praise God, Jesus IS risen!

And child of God, the resurrection of Jesus means MUCH MORE than a simple receipt with PAID IN FULL stamped on it.

May these resurrection truths grow roots and bear fruit in our lives…

Truth #1 – Power to stand with God.  

“And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.” (Acts 4:33 ESV)

The word “resurrection” sounds like a religious word, but in plain, ordinary English it means, “to stand up again”. That’s exactly what the power of the Holy Spirit enables us to do.

To stand up again after being dead in sin, pushed around by our old nature, buried beneath our burden of guilt and shame. Yes, the same Spirit Who raised Jesus from the grave dwells in us and gives life to our mortal flesh; we stand up again and again and again.

Until we finish our course. Victorious in Him!

“If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.” (Romans 8:11 – 8:12 ESV)

Did you see that? The Spirit Who raised up Jesus raises us up, SO THEN we don’t have to obey our flesh!

Truth #2 – Power to be led by God.

“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” (Romans 8:14 ESV)

Imagine what He can do through you and I as we learn to hear His voice and cooperate with His leading.

Jesus said something that pretty much blew His disciples’ minds. “It’s to your advantage that I go away.”

Really, Jesus? What could be better than the Son of God accompanying you everywhere?

His answer to that question blows MY mind…

Truth #3 – Power to do the works of Jesus.

What could be better?

Jesus said, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.” (John 16:13 – 16:15 ESV)

Child of God, all things that belong to the Father belong to Jesus. AND EVERYTHING Jesus has is available to you and I through the ministry of the Helper; the Holy Spirit.

Facing death and destruction? Sickness and disease? Fear and torment? Testing and trials?

The One Who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you!

No wonder John wrote: “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4 ESV)

Resurrection power dwells WITHIN you!

“…how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.” (Acts 10:38 ESV) 

Resurrection power is WITH you! 

“You are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works.” (Ephesians 2:10 paraphrased) 

Created, ordained, and equipped to do the works of Jesus – “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12 ESV)

May this Easter Sunday, Resurrection Sunday, or whatever else you’d like to call it, find you understanding to an even greater degree “what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church…” (Ephesians 1:18 – 1:22 ESV)

No wonder the early Christ followers turned their world upside down with the power of God.

Doesn’t your world need to witness God’s resurrection power? 

I know mine does.

Easter is for pagans

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Recently I asked our Facebook friends to write, using just a few words, what Easter means to them.

There were a number of responses, and I enjoyed reading each one. Here is the list of what Easter means to people like you and I.

Life everlasting

God’s invitation

Celebration

Sacrifice and mercy

Life and new beginnings

Love and sacrifice

Salvation

Resurrection

He’s Alive!

Love and freedom

Repentance and new life

Floating Holiday

Miracles happen

Redemption Day

New beginnings

My beginning, satan’s ending

New life

Risen with a promise

The fulfillment of the law

He lives

Redemption

He’s alive!

Risen Savior

My salvation

Empty grave

Some folks don’t like to use the word “Easter” because of its pagan roots. And while I prefer to speak of the celebrated day as Resurrection Sunday, I’m not against using a name with ties to paganism. 

Why?

Because I used to be an ungodly, unbelieving, selfish, egotistical, headed-straight-for-hell pagan. I talked the talk and walked the walk. 

And so did you (maybe you still do).

A couple of definitions for the word “pagan“:

-heathen; especially a follower of a polytheistic religion (as in ancient Rome)

-one who has little or no religion and who delights in sensual pleasures and material goods : an irreligious or hedonistic person

I used to fit into both categories, as I had all types of gods and idols; things I worshiped. 

“Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.” (Ephesians 2:12 ESV)

So when I use the pagan word, “Easter”, it reminds me of the reason for the season. 

Easter is for pagans!

As the song goes, “You came from heaven to earth, to show the way. From the earth to the cross, my debt to pay. From the cross to the grave, from the grave to the sky…” 

Easter (or whatever word you prefer saying) isn’t about pastel colors, eggs, bunnies, chocolates (well, maybe), lilies, or ham dinners. Nothing wrong with those traditions; they just don’t define Easter. 

But neither is it about church services, mass, cantatas, white dresses, or any religious tradition we hold up as the correct way to celebrate. 

Easter is the culmination of, not only the week of Christ’s passion, but the Father’s passion for His Creation; lost in the garden, but reconciled through the bodily resurrection of the Lamb of God, the Savior of the whole pagan, and religious, world.

As evidenced by the empty tomb.

Call it whatever you’d like. Just don’t miss the message. 

Easter is for pagans!

“…remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all.” (Ephesians 1:16-23 ESV)

Passion

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Passion.

Desire, focus, purpose, mission,

A cross

A week

Passion.

Praises, palms, crowds, questions,

A man

A king

Passion.

Preparation, covenant, body and blood,

An opportunity

A betrayal

Passion.

Pleading, sweating, sleeping, rising, scattering

A garden

A kiss

Passion.

Mocking, trying, beating, crowning,

A promise

A bruised heel

Passion.

Washed hands, mangled flesh, broken heart,

A dark hour

A holy hill

Passion.

Nails, splinters, hammers, jeers, gleeful serpent

A sorrow

A hope

Passion.

Silence, blood and water, declaration, sealed tomb,

A burial

A completion

Passion.

Earthquake, three days, visitors, empty tomb,

A question

A wonder

Passion.

Living Savior, elated saints, fulfilled promise, bruised head.

A defeated serpent

A victorious Lord

Passion.

Then, now, and always.

Passion.

He Is Risen! Asah!

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“He is risen! Asah!”

Maybe my imagination is working overtime, but here’s how I picture the moments just BEFORE Jesus was raised from the dead.

All is dark in the tomb. A legion of demonic forces are guarding the body from within the tomb, and from without.

All Hell is on alert, wringing their hands and staring at the clock. It isn’t that they believed Jesus’ words about rising after three days; they just couldn’t take any chances.

But what could they do to stop him? For the past three and a half years they had been kicked around like an old tin can. Every time he spoke to them, they would find themselves rolling down the street, looking like an old dried up tumbleweed one would see in those old cowboy flicks.

To say they are a bit edgy would be putting it mildly.

True, they had finally turned things their way. They had finally gotten him out of their hair. Now, in just a few more minutes, they could finally get things back to norm…

“HEY! WHERE’D THAT LIGHT COME FROM?!?”, screamed all the demons as they ran for a place to hide.

Suddenly, THE VOICE from Heaven shook the tomb, removed the stone, and declared, “He is risen!”

And then the demons heard the word which sent them reeling for all eternity… the Hebrew word, “asah”.

It opened the eyes of Jesus, and caused resurrection power to surge through his body. It struck terror in the minds of the demonic host, as it does today every time they here someone say, “indeed!”

Come on, say it!

“He is risen!”

“Indeed!”

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