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Posts Tagged ‘Resurrection’

Everyday Realities

Acquaintance

Acceptance

Trust

Friendship

Joy

Sin

Hurt

Anger

Pain

Lead to Everyday Choices

Forgiveness

Blame

Confession

Rejection

Repentance

Revenge

Forgiveness

Enmity

Grace

Hatred

Restoration

Loss

Healing

Death

A New Beginning

The Dead End

Acceptance

Trust

Friendship 

Joy 

Sin

Hurt

Anger

Pain

Time to choose, again

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“He turns rivers into a desert,
springs of water into thirsty ground.”  
Psalm 107:33

“The burning sand shall become a pool,
the thirsty ground springs of water.”  
Isaiah 35:7

Water and thirst are powerful images repeatedly set in contrast in the Bible.

God is the source of all water.  He can give it, as He did on the second day of creation, and He can take it away, as David affirms in Psalm 107.

We have no control over when it will rain and nourish the earth and when drought inhabits the land.  This is a reality for Christians and atheists.  Rain is out of our control.

Thirst is a physical and spiritual reality in our lives.  Physical dehydration will zap the body of strength and is frequently the cause of headaches, illness, and death.  Without water you will die.

Thirst is also a spiritual need.  This is why God invites us to come to Him to relive our thirst.  In Isaiah 55:1 God invites us to come to Him with this invitation:
“Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters.”

When Jesus met the woman at the well, He knew her thirst was deeper than her dry mouth and throat.  She was faint because her soul was dying for more, yet all she knew to do was to draw from an earthen well.

Jesus said to her in John 4:13-14

“Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

I grew up in Florida in a home which was not air conditioned.  At an early age, I learned the necessity and the ability to drink copious amounts of water everyday.  I still regularly drink a gallon of water everyday.

My wife is amazed at my ability to drink so much water and, if necessary, to drink 24 ounces in less than a minute.  

When I am physically faint and thirsty, I know what to do.

I know many Christians who are always spiritually thirsty.  

They only take in God in tiny sips, an ounce here and there.  They are never spiritually satisfied because they have never learned to take in God in large gulps.

Are you thirsty?

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How often we choose labor when He says “Rest”

There is a blessed resting in lying still, 

in letting His hand mold us. (1)

Selah!

If you read the Psalms regularly, you have seen this word frequently.

Selah!

It is a musical term which means rest, pause, break.

Frequently, either in between sections of a psalm or at the end of a psalm, we are instructed to selah.  It is a time to rest and take a deep breath.

Singers and public speakers know they must take a rest, a deep breath, to refill their lungs, before they can sing or speak further.  The failure to take adequate pauses and a deep breath robs your voice of power and narrows the range of tone.

Selah provides a blessing for the listener as well.

The brief respite from noise, sound, words, or music allows the listener to soak in what they have just heard.  Without pauses the words, notes, and lyrics begin to back-up in the brain like rush hour traffic.  Without pauses, the listener becomes so overwhelmed, he stops listening.

Without pauses we lose our voice and our ears.

In ministry, my life is a marathon from Labor Day to Memorial Day.  However, from Thanksgiving to Easter it is a sprint.  When I get to Noon on Easter Sunday, I am spent.  I need to pause.

If you are a daily reader of my devotionals, you have noticed that I have posted by devotionals later and later each day, instead of them being ready when you rise in the morning.  My internal warning signs have been flashing in front of me Selah, Selah, Selah!

This morning, I finally took the pause I desperately needed.  In fact I plan to Selah the rest of the day, piddling around the house and yard letting my mind and heart wander as I ramble through the day completing inconsequential tasks.

I will be unproductive, while my spirit reproduces.

As I read my morning devotions (I read through 12 each day) over half of them said, SELAH!!  The words were different, but God’s message was clear.

I feel better already.

If the voices and tasks in your life are beginning to look like a train wreck during rush hour, I encourage you to selah!

It’s a “Be still and know I am God day” for me!”

If you need one of these take it, even if you have to play tag-team parenting with your spouse.

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  1. Reimann, Jim; Cowman, Mrs. Charles E. (2008-09-02). Streams in the Desert: 366 Daily Devotional Readings (p. 154). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

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Easter Sermon Notes

Remember What He Said

Scripture: Luke 24:1-8 and 1 Corinthians 15:1-2, 54-58

To listen to this sermon, click here on April 9 and click on link for sermons

.

I. Don’t you remember what I said ….

A.  Words we have all heard

B.  Luke 24:5-6 – The 2 men/angels to the women at the tomb

Why do you look for the living among the dead?

He is not here!   He has risen!

Remember how He told you …

C.  The women had already forgotten

When reminded by the angel

=> 24:8 Then they remembered His words

D.  Regarding His death and rising

Matt 16:21, Mark 8:31, 9:31, 10:34, and Luke 9:22

Jesus began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again.

E. Regarding His Resurrection

Matthew 22:31-32

I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. I am not God of the dead, but of the living.

John 11:24

I am the resurrection and the life.

II. Paul writing to the Corinthian Church

A.  1 Corinthians 15

Reminds us of the reason for the season

What are we celebrating today

Everyday within the church

The resurrection of Jesus

B.  He reminds them to believe in 15:1

The good news that I proclaimed to you, 

which you in turn received, 

in which also you stand, 

And by which you are saved,

C.  ==> theological discourse on the resurrection …

3 sections in 1 Corinthians 15

1. 1-11 – The Truthfulness of the Gospel

2.  12-24 – The Resurrection of the Dead

3.  35-58 – The Resurrection of the Body

D.  Crescendo of chapter 15 is reached in verses 54-57

When he speaks of the victory of the cross

Listen to Paul’s summary about

what the resurrection of Jesus means for us:

Death has been swallowed up in victory.

Where, O death, is your victory?  

Where, O death, is your sting?

The sting of death is sin, 

and the power of sin is the law. 

But thanks be to God, 

who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

E.  The resurrection of Jesus represents the two victories of the cross

Over two powers/realities which deeply affect our daily lives

1.  Over the power of sin to cause our spiritual death

2.  Over the power of physical death to end our life

III. The Resurrection gives us victory over Sin

A.  Sin has incredible power over us

In Romans Paul tells us about the realities of sin

Romans 3:23 – All sin and fall short of the glory of God

Romans 6:23 – The wages of sin is death

B.  While we like to argue about what sin does to us,

We all know deep within our souls

What sin does to us, to our relationships, to our lives

And to our relationship with God

C.  Sin destroys life,

it weighs down life,

it takes life away,

it kills life

D.  While we may bravo in our sin when committing it

We regret our sin when is shatters our life

E.  Examples of sin destroying life

1.  Zacchaeus – the tax collector

Cheated and greedy, loathed by the people

Found forgiveness and restoration in Jesus

2.  Former Illinois Governor – Rod Blagojevich

Now serving 14 years for corruption as governor

Affect on his 2 daughters

I will guarantee you sin is weighing him down

3.  The Woman caught in adultery

Leaders wanted to stone her to death

Have you ever been in room

When spouse reveals/confesses adultery to spouse and family

Looks could kill – pain, anger, grief

Weeping of regret for sin … Weighs down heavy

4.  Even unintended sins ==> deep regret

Elderly priest – Good Friday – ran over 5 parishioners,

killed one, imagine the weight on him

9 year old playing with gun kills his twin –

Imagine the weight on his shoulders

and father who left gun loaded and available

F.  Anyone who says sin is

without consequence without victims is deceived

G.  Every sinner prays for a do-over

All of us in this room have done something we regret

It hurts … It pains … It weighs us down

H.  The wages of sin is death

But because Jesus died for us

Took on the death of our sins

And because he rose from the dead

The death of our sins has been removed

==> why Paul proclaims

Death has been swallowed up in victory.

Where, O death, is your victory?  

Where, O death, is your sting?….

But thanks be to God, 

who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

I.  At Easter … because of Jesus’ death resurrection

We celebrate the forgiveness of our sins

The removal of the wages of sin from us

J.  This news, this fact, causes many in the church

to move from lamenting

to singing and rejoicing

Examples:

1. African-american spirituals:

2. The American spiritual

3.  Those whose lives have been broken by sin

shame us in our ho-humness of Easter Hallelujahs

Friday at Rockford Rescue Mission

Weeping, wailing, dancing, shouting

Genuine joy … lives saved by God’s grace

K.  If it weren’t for Easter … The resurrection

We couldn’t sing these songs

IV.  Resurrection gives us victory over death at the end of this life

A.  As believers and by God’s grace

We share in Jesus’ resurrection

John 11:25-26

Jesus said to Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.

B.  I have spent much of my ministry with people as they deal with death

C.  Death not only ==> grief and sadness

it also ==> anxiety, worry, fear in all of us

What comes after death?

Is death the end?

Is this all there is to life?

D.  Jewish faith places emphasis on remembering

Because no belief in an after-life

Jesus teaching about resurrection, an after life

was something people had never heard

People do not simply live on in the memories of others

there is life after our physical, earthly death

E.  Easter – Jesus’ resurrection

Is more than Jesus telling us

It is Jesus proving for us that

There is more to life on earth

than death at the end of the day

F.  Paul said in Philippians 1:21

For me to die is gain, for me to live is lost

G.  Jesus’ resurrection becomes

The resurrection of our bodies after death

The gift of life eternal

The communion of the saints

H.  Life in and of itself is hard

For most people in most cultures

Negro spirituals sung while toiling in the fields as slaves

Joyously sing of resurrection and better heavenly world

Three most moving ones are:

The Gospel train’s comin’ 

Swing low, sweet chariot

Soon and very soon.

V.  These two victories of the cross

A.  The forgiveness of sins

The resurrection of the body

Are not victories everyone will celebrate

B.  Do not be fooled by sentimentality that says

the forgiveness of sins

the resurrection of the body

is for anyone

We love to say …

Pastor, you know 

the friendly neighbor, the nice lady down the street

their spouse, the caring coach, my good muslim neighbor

they’ll be heaven!  

Won’t they?

C.  We may wish it, but scripture teaches differently

Scripture teaches – Only for those who believe in JC

will share in the victories won by Jesus in His resurrection

D.  These victories are for those who believe

In Jesus as God’s Son, as Lord and Savior.

As the two angels at the tomb said to the two women:

Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee:

This is what Jesus said:

Mark 16:16

Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned

John 3:16-18

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

Jesus to Martha in John 11:25-26

Reveals the importance of belief

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. 

Do you believe this?” 

John wrote his gospel so we might believe and be saved

John 1:6-7  => belief

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him.

John 20:30-31

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

VI.  The Easter Invitation

A.  Easter is a celebration

For believers and followers

B.  Not only is Easter a time for celebration

But it is a time for commitment

for recommitment

C.  Perhaps

You have taken the Lord for granted

Jesus died for me but I am going to do what I want

You have fallen away

Placed distance between you and Jesus

You know you have not been a faithful follower

D.  Now, today is the time

To commit yourself to the Lord

To accept Him as Savior and Lord

To recommit yourself to follow him

If you have not professed your faith in Jesus

as God’s Son, as your Lord and Savior …

If you have not repented and confessed your sins

asking for God’s forgiveness through Jesus …

Do so now, today

so that Jesus’ resurrection, His victories

Over the power of sin to cause your spiritual death

Over the power of physical death to end your life

will be yours

Do so now,

so that Jesus’ resurrection and forgiveness

will be your resurrection and forgiveness

Paul put it this way:

This is the good news that I proclaimed to you, 

which you in turn received, 

in which also you stand, 

And by which you are saved

That Christ died for our sins 

That Jesus was buried

That he was raised on the third day 

Just as He said,

in accordance with the Scriptures.

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When it comes to forgiveness, I talk a good game, thanks to my selective memory.

 

Yesterday I shared with others the heroics of my forgiving spirit and how God honored my graciousness in His time.  While I was speaking about what God is able to do when we have a forgiving heart, I spoke too much about my graciousness in light of the hurt I endured.

 

There are other stories I could have told.  

 

I could have rattled on about the times when I harbored deep grudges, nursed wounds beyond their expiration date, and gossiped about how I had been wronged.

 

Jesus handled the betrayals, denials, and physical blows against Him differently than me.  Except for telling Judas to “Do it quickly,” He received the betrayals, denials, and blows against Him in silence.  

 

Jesus never threatened His executioners with impending judgment; instead He forgave them. He accepted His suffering without bitterness. (1)

 

When we chatter on about past hurts and wrongs against us, we cannot boast about having forgiven the offender.  As long we allow the hurt or offense to live in the present, we have not put it into the past.  

 

Forgiveness involves the placing an offense against us into the past.  

 

I remember the tenderness of being wounded by someone who refused to forgive me when I asked for forgiveness.  A close friend tried to console me by saying, “Do not worry, they will forgive you eventually!”

 

It was the eventually which crushed my spirit.

 

How long would I need to wait to be forgiven?  How long would I have to live on edge, teetering between the loving grasp of forgiveness and the rejection of un-forgiveness?  How long would I need to earn brownie points before I could step away from egg-shell living?

 

I expect others to forgive me now and to do so with a grace that does not humble me.

 

As I move closer to Easter I anticipate celebrating God’s amazing, life-giving, death defying grace.  

 

God is anticipating the same from me.

 

Jesus taught me to pray, “Forgive my debts as I forgive the debts of others!” (Matthew 6:12).

 

You cannot grasp the joy of Easter while holding fast to an unforgiving spirit.

 

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  1. John MacArthur, Truth for Today : A Daily Touch of God’s Grace (Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman, 2001), 107.

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The jewels of a Christian are his afflictions (1)

We tend to believe that the most Christ-like people are those who love others graciously and generously.  A Christian’s love for others, always receives the praise of the world.

However, the most Christ-like people are those who suffer unjustly because of the sins of others.  In the eyes of the world, we call these people fools, if they suffer quietly and do not seek revenge.

Jesus suffered unjustly because of our sins.  He died on the cross, not to get revenge, but to secure the forgiveness of our sins.  This is suffering love.

Most Christians refuse to suffer.  If suffering comes to us unjustly, we seek to throw it off and we whine to God about the injustice of it all.

Jesus suffered quietly because of our sins.

Jesus considered suffering unjustly and quietly for love’s sake to be the best:

Blessed are those who suffer for righteousness sake.  

Blessed are those who suffer when falsely persecuted.

There is no greater love than to lay down your life for others.

The glory of Jesus is revealed not in His resurrection, but in His crucifixion.

God proves Himself, not by flexing His muscles and revealing His death-defying powers, but in His willingness to suffer, to die, as an innocent man.

In his great hymn about Jesus, Paul writes:

Jesus humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him. (2)

As you move into Holy Week, remember that the most holy day is not Palm Sunday’s Parade, Passover’s Feast, or Easter’s Resurrection.

The crowning jewel, the most holy moment of Holy Week is on Good Friday when Jesus cries out, “It is finished!”

There is no greater … anything ….  than a crown of thorns.

The crown of thorns is a Christian’s halo.

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  1. Charles H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening : Daily Readings, Complete and unabridged; New modern edition. (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2006).
  2. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Philippians 2:8–9.

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