Resurrection

...now browsing by tag

 
 

July 24

Wednesday, July 24th, 2019

My title for this devotion is Facts that Hear vs Facts that Act.

Sounds like a strange title doesn’t it? It’s almost like, “What is Bill smoking?: Nothing. Never have. So my mind is not a jumbled mess. 🙂

Let me put it this way: Have you ever heard something that sounded good, had facts to back it, BUT required a little too much exercise of faith to pull it off? Allow me to explain: On December 17, 1903 the Wright brothers made history by flying. They defied the law of gravity. But did you know the idea wasn’t theirs? Year before some mathematicians and scientists figured out flight was possible but nobody was willing to take them up on it. Until the Wright brothers. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Alexander Campbell, the founder of what is called the Restoration Movement, once said, “Faith is belief in testimony.” He further said, “Faith is belief in testimony of credible witnesses.” Think on that some. What changed the apostles was not the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, but their witness of the Resurrected Christ. And it was that belief that transformed them and therefore gave them credibility with the people who listened. The apostles had to act upon the fact of the Resurrection. It was not enough just to hear the story. They saw the risen Christ. Then allowed that fact to revolutionize their lives.

The same goes for those who heard the apostles. The apostles were credible witnesses but those who heard had to believe what they said and act on that faith.

That goes for all of us. The Gospel is presented to us. We hear. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” [Rom.10:17] We then decided whether to say, “Oh that may be facts or it may just be talk” OR “Those are facts I need to believe and act on.”

“Father, your Word is truth. It was written by inspired men who were credible witnesses to your work. Help me not be someone who has the facts and does nothing. Help me to be one who hears, believes, and acts.”

June 5

Wednesday, June 5th, 2019

My title for this devotion is Loss in Death vs. Victory in Death.

Death has been called the Great Enemy. I have also heard it called the Great Equalizer. Many people are afraid of death. The sad part is many people who use the name “Christian” are also afraid.  I have been at the bedside of people who are afraid to die and are unsure of their salvation and they need not have fear of death because of what Jesus has done.

Jesus conquered death, hell and the grave though His resurrection. So the Christ-follower (which I am one) has absolutely nothing to fear. Just yesterday (Tuesday), I went to the cemetery where my mother is buried. Following her death in 2004, she was cremated and I left PA to return home to Ohio. It is now 2019. 15 years later I went the gravesite where she and her godly parents were buried. I came away with a sense of relief knowing they weren’t there. Knowing I will see them again.

How different from the story I read today about Charles Bradlaugh, a belligerent British atheist was laid to rest in an empty funeral service. Writer Authur Porritt wrote:

No prayer was said at the grave. Indeed, not a single word was uttered. The remains, placed in a light coffin, were lowered into the earth in a quite unceremonious fashion as if carrion were being hustled out of sight…I came away heart-frozen. It only then dawned on me that loss of faith in the continuity of human personality after death gives death an appalling victory.

To the unbeliever death is a sting. To the Christ-follower death has lost its sting.

“Father, thank you for the victory over death. Thank you that death has no power to the one who follows You. Thank you that I have nothing to fear because of the victory of Christ over death.”

April 19/Weekend

Friday, April 19th, 2019

My title is All Access vs No Access.

Several months ago I had the great privilege of opening the Indiana House of Representatives session with prayer. Getting there was interesting. I had to go through a locked gate, tell them who I was and what I was there for and wait for the arm to go up. Fine…if someone is at the gate. I eventually had to back out (I had a number of cars behind me), make a call and get instructions.  Otherwise, no access. To top it off I had to go through other checkpoints (which I understand why) to get where I needed to go.

Today is “Good Friday.” A day that reminds me of access. Isaiah 25:9 says, “Behold, this is our God; we have watched for him, that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”

On this day the cross made salvation possible. On this day Jesus died for that salvation to be possible. On this day the sky grew pitch black even though it was noon. On this day the veil was torn from top to bottom giving us full and complete access to the presence of God. A new way is now open to God. No longer is the blood of bulls and goats required. No longer do we need a priest to offer a sacrifice for our sins. No longer does a priest give forgiveness. Full and complete access is now ours.

PRAISE THE LAMB!

January 28

Monday, January 28th, 2019

I bury a friend today. I haven’t known him long. Little over a year and a half but the past year found me taking multiple hour long trips to the hospital to visit and multiple trips to his house as he fought a brave fight against an ugly form of cancer. He lived 18 months longer past the original 18 months they gave him to live. The power of prayer. The power of medicine. The power of the will to live and not give up.

How God-like it is then to read this morning from G. Campbell Morgan’s book in a chapter called When a Loved One Dies. Here are some of his thoughts:

Death is the wounder of hearts. It is the assailant of faith; it is the challenger of hope. (p.44)

We need to remind ourselves that nothing that happens today has its full explanation in here and now. Some day we will see things in perfect Light, and then we will understand…I believe that whereas the gap will always remain and the sense of loss abide, as it does with me…you will be lead into a place of quiet assurance that God is too wise to make any mistake, and too good to ever be unkind.” (pp.44-45)

“Our tears he never rebukes.” (p.45)

There are some things I will never understand. A godly woman (my mother) taken before her 72nd birthday by cancer while a man who had no regard for God that I knew of lived to be 90. I don’t understand why I’ve stood at the graveside of a child or a young person or a young mother/father. I don’t understand why a man of 47 with a new grandson is taken. I’m not meant to understand everything. Someday I will but until then I need to, no I must, trust the One who is the Giver of life. It’s simply not for me to know now.

I just know I have to trust the One who said, “I am the resurrection and the life”; the One who conquered death, hell and the grave; the One who said He is preparing a home for His people; the One who welcomed Billy into his arms of grace last Thursday afternoon. I will not say “Goodbye” but “See you later” to Billy- a friend of God and a friend of man.

“Father, I rejoice Billy was your child to the very end. And while Becky and the family and friends mourn (me included) I rejoice Billy has no more excruciating pain and now rests in his heavenly home. Be with me as I speak today. Let me be a giver of hope and life because of Your promise.”