Thursday, April 24, 2014

Have You Seen HIM?!?!

The week before Easter is almost as exciting as the weeks prior to Christmas. If you look at the commercial stores, they are almost as busy...with the Easter bunny, baskets, eggs and (oh my!) all the candy! 

Of course, living in the south, we all know you can NEVER wear white clothing, especially shoes, before Easter! Hence, we drag out last year's white purse and shoes, since they are still like new and wear them to church with our newest and brightest dresses, shirts and ties. We look like the decorated eggs themselves!

What about the week after Easter? Do we forget that Jesus is still resurrected? The bible tells us that Jesus appeared several times after the resurrection and walked the earth for 40 days before the ascension.
Jesus appeared at least 12 times, that are recorded in scripture, to different group sizes ranging from just one person to 500 people: (from
1) Mary Magdalene (Mark 16.9-11; John 20.11-18)
2) the other women at the tomb (Matthew 28.8-10)
3) Peter in Jerusalem (Luke 24.34; 1 Cor. 15.5)
4) The two travelers on the road (Mark 16.12,13)
5) Ten disciples behind closed doors (Mark 16.14; Luke 24.36-43; John 20.19-25)
6) All the disciples, with Thomas (excluding Judas Iscariot) (John 20.26-31; 1 Cor. 15.5)
7) Seven disciples while fishing (John 21.1-14)
8) Eleven disciples on the mountain (Matthew 28.16-20)
9) A crowd of 500 (1 Cor. 15.6)
10) Jesus' brother James (1 Cor. 15.7)
11) Those who watched Jesus ascend to heaven (Luke 24.44-49; Acts 1.3-8)
12) Least of all Paul, though he was not living in the proper time (1 Cor. 15.8-9; Gal. 1.13-16; Acts 9.1-8, 22.9, read all of chapters 22 and 26; 13.30-37; 1 Cor. 15.10-20; Gal. 2.1-10):

  • Luke has no problem between Paul's appearance and those made to the disciples in Luke 24, Acts 1.1-11. Luke records both types of appearances of Jesus to the disciples and to Paul.
  • "Last of all he was seen of me also" (1 Cor. 15.8).
  • "Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord?" (1 Cor. 9.1).
  • Others saw the light and heard the voice during Paul seeing Jesus bodily, however because Paul's experience was post-ascension, it may be slightly different.
  • Evolution of a resurrection theory actually devolved from the accounts of the 40 days with the disciples to when Paul saw Jesus (Gal. 1.15-16).
  • "To reveal His Son in me" (Gal. 1.16,18) took three years following the Damascus road experience.
  • "And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man" (Acts 9.7). This presumes that Paul saw the man. 
We know that Jesus is alive and, through the Holy Spirit, lives in us. Why do we forget so easily what we celebrated last week? Has He shown Himself to you this week? How does He appear to us in today's world? 

I have felt His Presence during my prayer times and devotions, during the singing of our choir at church, listening to praise songs on the radio. God sometimes whispers in a small still voice to my soul, these are sometimes the most meaningful to me. Others, He speaks through a friend or my spouse. 

God knows when we need to see or hear Him. His timing is perfect. We just need to be still and know He is always with us, we don't have to wait for Him to make His appearance like the disciples did long ago. Aren't we blessed? Thank you Jesus for 'showing up' everyday in my life. 


Friday, April 11, 2014

A Life Changed by the Spirit

"A man showed up on Sunday afternoon in the parking lot and a chaplain started a conversation with him. He shared that he was from Missouri but was basically headed to nowhere. He came back on Monday to volunteer with Samaritan's Purse. After the man had worked hard all day helping to clean up tornado debris, the chaplain saw him that night sleeping in his car in the Walmart parking lot. He came to volunteer the next day and the next, working hard everyday with the Samaritan's Purse teams. One morning a chaplain went to him and he wanted to share his life. He had left his wife because she had not forgiven him for things he had done in the past. He said he still loved her and did not know where to turn and he 'just happened' to see a group of people and stopped. (we know God steered him there) After he shared his life, the chaplain shared Jesus and how He forgives and loves us. The 33 year old man, crying, asked Jesus to forgive him and to come into his life. The chaplain encouraged the man to contact his wife and share with her what he had done. He came to the church that night to eat with the teams and shared that he planned to work one more day and head home. His wife is not a christian, but we know God is working in this young man's life, and pray that this house will be one that is changed to serve the Lord."

This is one of many stories where we have see people trying to run from life itself. Trying to find happiness on their own. We have friends who tried filling their lives with Civic organizations and political affairs, trying to fill the void in their lives. They found out, as most do, that we cannot do life on our own and find peace in our spirit. Now they have given their life to the Lord and are serving faithfully. The emptiness in our spirit can only be filled when we meet Jesus and allow His Spirit to come live in fill the emptiness and void.

Romans 8:9- "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His"

We were created in His likeness, by Him. Until the creation is completed, when the Spirit comes in to us, we are searching for answers and fulfillment. What about you? Are you searching and finding no peace? We can run, hide, and seek looking for activities to fill us, but the only way we can be filled is by the One Who created us.

Change your life and be filled with His Presence. No one can fail to be bold and eager in witness when the Spirit is producing in him overflowing joy, perpetual gratitude and humble love. O how we need to be filled with the Spirit! Let’s seek it! Pursue it!


Thursday, April 3, 2014

When the Saints Go Marchin In

Psalm 116:15 "Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints"

Listening to people talk lately about death can be amusing. When you listen to what is really being said at the funeral home or during the funeral, it also can be heartbreaking because it is not scriptural. Just this morning, as I was reading on social media, the discussion was about those dying becoming 'angels' or 'guardian angels' and what scripture has to say about those things. One comment was 'nor do they look down on us from heaven, because there will be no more tears there.'

We know the scriptures tells us we are created beings and so are the angels. We are created with souls, the angels were not. In Rev. 5 it tells the elders sang the great song of redemption. The angels cannot sing a song of redemption because they do not need to be redeemed. The angels who rebelled with Satan will be judged and cast into Hell. The angels which stayed in heaven are called the Elect angels.

In Hebrews 2 it tells us man is a little lower than the angels. It is only in our resurrected body do we become pure enough to even be equal with the angels. "Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.”  Luke 20:34-36(Emphasis added) Please note that it does not say we become angels or guardian angels. Let's not twist the scripture.

What we do know about dying, unless you have done it (which I don't think you have if you are reading this), is that it is the passing from life as we know it here on earth to another realm. If you are a believer in Christ Jesus the scripture say " And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die" John 11:26. Yes, our fleshly, earthly bodies will die, but the soul He created for eternity! 

When someone dies, we on earth is traditional. But the scriptures say the saints are welcomed to their heavenly home, it is precious in His sight to see His children!

Arthur W. Pink puts it this way:
"While we are sorrowing over the removal of a saint, Christ is rejoicing. His prayer was "Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory" (John 17:24), and in the entrance into Heaven of each one of His own people, He sees an answer to that prayer and is glad. He beholds in each one that is freed from "this body of death" another portion of the reward for His travail of soul, and He is satisfied with it. Therefore the death of His saints is precious to the Lord, for it occasions Him ground for rejoicing."

Most of us know several saints who have gone on to be with the Lord and many who are nearing the end of their earthly journey. Should we not rejoice with the Lord upon their meeting Him face to face? How blessed are those that get to look on the face of Jesus! 

When I was growing up, the funeral homes of today did not exist. The people 'sat up' at the homes with the bodies for several days. I am not sure why they guarded the bodies, but it was the way it was done. It was also a time of families coming together, eating and reuniting. In some ways it was a time for sorrow, but in other ways it was a blessed time for celebration. That is something we have lost in our recent years, family time for celebration, time for remembering and gathering together to celebrate life itself. 

There is coming a day, when life on this earth will end for each of us (and we will not be turned into angels!) It will be a time of sorrow for some, but for others, a time of celebration. Not only in heaven, but I pray on earth that friends and family will gather around and celebrate the memories of the good times. That each will have the hope of the reunion in Jesus. The tears will be gone, we can look forward to no more separation, no pain and no sorrow, and the hope found in Him will be far greater than the sorrow of loss. 

Makes me remember the song "When the Saints go marching in, when saints go marching in, Lord I want to be in that number, when the saints go marching in." Just to stand on the curb of the golden streets and watch this parade would truly be one of grandeur!!

Philippians 1:21 "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain"

I would love to have your comments posted here about this blog. Where will you be at the end of this life's journey? Are you ready to meet Him? Are you ready to march with the saints? Strike up the band!!