He Lives

The Resurrection of Jesus has many consequences for us today. It means that we have a living reason to stand for truth, a hope for the future and a foundation to place our faith. Not everyone who was lucky enough to be there when Jesus vacated the tomb believed He lives.  I am amazed that even after Jesus was seen by several people after He was risen, that people still didn’t believe it. The writers of the four Gospels either had themselves been witnesses or were relating the accounts of eyewitnesses. The apostles appealed to common knowledge concerning the facts of the resurrection. Everyone at that time was talking about it. When He ascended into heaven over five hundred people witnessed His departure. Yet, some still did not believe what they saw. Those that did believe that Jesus was in fact alive and returned to His heavenly home told everyone they encountered. They spread the gospel far and wide. As a result they were  beaten, stoned to death, thrown to the lions, tortured and crucified.  Even in the face of fear, the face of death, they laid down their lives as  proof of the truth of their message. Jesus lives, He died for us, but rose again. He lives. What’s more He will return for us!

We must believe in the Resurrection of Christ.  Paul puts the Resurrection of Jesus this way (1 Corinthians 15:14-17) “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.”  We are forgiven.  We are not under the threat of death if we share the gospel, yet we are more often than not silent. We go about our daily lives faithful, but how much are we sharing the gospel?

We haven’t seen Him. We never walked and talked with Him, we certainly did not get to witness His death, burial, His Resurrection and  Ascension to the Father, but we believe in the person, the divinity for Jesus. We should be telling everyone! Sharing the gospel with everyone. What do we have to lose?

Galatians 2: 20 “I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So the life I now live in the body, I live because of the faithfulness of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

What are you waiting for?  Tell everyone about the life, death, Resurrection and love of Christ.

Now We Wait

John 19: 38-42 (ESV)

38 After these things Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took away his body.39 Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight. 40 So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. 41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. 42 So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.

I know what it is like to bury someone whom I love.  Usually by the time the funeral comes you have had time to think about them being gone and can grieve. I can’t imagine what it must have been like for the ones who buried Jesus. They believed they were burying God.  Were they grieving the loss of Him, the absence of His presence? What was it like to be with God then He was gone? The void they felt must have been enormous. They must have been waiting for an answer. Why did He leave us? Why didn’t he get crowned King? He said He was King.  I am sure some of them began to doubt him. We have the account of Thomas, but I am sure others were losing faith too.

One of the hardest things to so in our lives as followers of Christ is to wait for God to act. We know He has said He is coming back. He promised that He would, so now we wait.

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also” John 14:1-3 (ESV)

We can’t allow ourselves to doubt. Just as He rose again that first Easter, He will return again.  We must live like it could be today. We must prepare, work for Him and praise Him as we wait.

What are you doing to praise God while you wait?

 

 

That Friday

“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

On that Friday Jesus, part of God, was crucified. The nails pierced Him, the cat of nine tails ripped His flesh,  the crown of thorns cut his head and the spear sliced His side. His death broke the heart of God. When we look back on that Friday our hearts should break too. He died, the immortal perfect Son of God died, why? To be the sacrifice for all the sin and evil that enslaves us. What did God ask in return for the slaughter of His son? Our love, our faith and our obedience.

Doesn’t seem right? Dose not seem fair?

We who are not worthy of life.

We who are not worthy to even gather the crumbs from under His table.

We who are evil by nature, sinful by our existence, lovers of darkness…we are the reason He suffered, died and was buried.

We are also the reason on the third day He rose again.

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil.” John 3:16-19

It just doesn’t seem right.

We are nothing….nothing, yet God loves us….Love held Jesus on that cross, not the nails.

The Littlest Blessings

It’s in the little things that God shows you He is paying attention to you! It is the littlest blessings. It is no secret that I have made a radical change in my life. I resigned a job that I had for almost 17 years to follow my dream and to follow God’s calling for my life. I was excited and terrified at the same time. Now as the small blessings of God become apparent  I realize that God is looking out for me. I prayed and begged God to move in my life and He was waiting for me to move. Once I obeyed God, did the unthinkable,to me, then the blessing came. One small thing at the time.

God loves us and wants to bless us. We must show we are obedient to Him for that to happen. The same God who wants to bless us can discipline us in the same breath when we ignore His will for our life.

The key to the blessings is three-fold: bring yourself to the conversation with God, listen and act.

The blessings will follow. Often they are the smallest things that only I know are from God, but they mean so much to me. The littlest blessings make my love for God grow deeper in big ways.

A New Beginning

Today is my birthday.  I woke up thinking that it is just another day really, but when I think about all the things I can do with this new year of my life,  it makes me realize that it is a day to start to move forward into a world of opportunities. It is a new year of possibilities. It is a chance to get rid of what isn’t working and explore what is working.  It is a chance to confess sin and thank God for His mercy.  It is a time to thank God for bringing me to another year. Now I have another chance to do good things for His sake, to reach the goals He has planned out for me, and to grow closer to God. Like David I will sing thanks to God for another year that has started with a beautiful morning!

Psalm 30

Joy Comes with the Morning

A Psalm of David

 I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up
and have not let my foes rejoice over me.
O Lord my God, I cried to you for help,
and you have healed me.
O Lord, you have brought up my soul from Sheol;
you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.

Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints,
and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger is but for a moment,
and his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may tarry for the night,
but joy comes with the morning.

As for me, I said in my prosperity,
“I shall never be moved.”
By your favor, O Lord,
you made my mountain stand strong;
you hid your face;
I was dismayed.

To you, O Lord, I cry,
and to the Lord I plead for mercy:
“What profit is there in my death,
if I go down to the pit?[e]
Will the dust praise you?
Will it tell of your faithfulness?
10 Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me!
O Lord, be my helper!”

11 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
you have loosed my sackcloth
and clothed me with gladness,
12 that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!

Voices in My Head

I was noticing there are a lot of silly pictures on Facebook about voices in the heads of the users. One that was really funny said “I’m never alone, there is always the little voices in my head that keep me company.” Oh and this one, “To Do list: yell at the voices, lick the polka-dotted unicorn, and steal cookies SO FUN!”  SO SILLY!

We joke about voices and being crazy, when in reality there are voices in our heads. We have thoughts that guide us every second of every day. It is of course, for most people, their consciences. We hear all the time, from the time we are little, listen to your intuition, your heart, or your gut. Even Disney told us through the cricket, “Let your consciences be your guide.” That is good advice if your conscience is guided by the truth.

I hear conversations lately about inner truth, self truth, and universal truth. There is only one truth, that is God’s truth. If I follow my own truth, it isn’t long before I am in the company of evil. I could give you several examples but it would take days. Let me give you a simple one, I love chocolate. If I listen to my truth, I would eat it every day. Actually, I love to eat all sorts of good food. Years of listening to my truth caused me to have about 100 extra pounds to lose. If I had listened to God’s truth, I would not be in this situation. 1 Cor 6:18-20 says “do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?  For you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God with your body.”

I have voices in my head too, mostly my conscience trying to convince me that the french fries are really vegetables.  The one voice I should listen to is the voice of God. One of the other silly quotes I saw was ” To understand madness, you must hear the voices yourself.”  Cracked me up, but think about it a minute. There is a smidgen of truth there.

Look at it this way.

To understand the truth, you must hear the voice of God for yourself.

How do you hear the voice of God? Meet with Him often in prayer and in His written word. You can’t expect to hear God’s voice of truth if you don’t make yourself available for the conversation.

Now where is that polka-dotted unicorn?

🙂

 

 

This Crazy Life

Do you ever wonder what the disciples thought when Jesus said to them “Leave your families, all your stuff and follow me”? I bet at least one or two thought, “This man is crazy.” They followed him anyway. Why? What makes us lay down all our stuff, change our lives and follow God?

There isn’t a guarantee life will be better. In fact living for God is not easier than living for yourself. It takes discipline and trust in someone you can’t see. Then why do we do it?

Love. We have a built in desire to love and that love pulls us toward God. Sometimes we don’t know it’s God at first. We know something is missing so we fill our lives with work, families, money, drugs, whatever we think will get us through the day. We know there is more to life than this meager existence we are living. For all the fillers we use to fulfill us there is still this desire for more or better. We are never satisfied.

If we trust God, leave all that junk behind and live for Jesus, that empty hole in our soul starts to fill up. The more we trust God the more satisfied we become. To outsiders we may appear crazy, but we don’t care how we look. We have never felt this complete. We may not understand why and it isn’t always easy, but something in us tells us we are doing the right thing, going the right direction. We know that for all the craziness, it is the love and will of God that we live for and we will not trade it fit the world.