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God Gives Life to the Dead

Abraham and Sarah’s bodies were “dead” when it came to the ability to conceive apart from the miraculous work of God. They knew the promise of a son was absurd by human terms. And they knew their God was so much bigger than any absurdity!

When we believe something cannot happen, we stop looking for signs of life. If spring will never come, if all we have to look forward to is more freeze and snow, our hearts will not life at the hope of a sunny day. Our eyes will miss the first green sprout. Our ears won’t hear the first twittering of birds.

All of a sudden, or so it will seem, spring will be blowing all around you. instead of joy at the beauty, you will feel confused as to how it happened. We may even harrumph because winter is just around the corner again. No sense enjoying spring if it won’t last forever.

But our God has provided two kinds of hope–eternal and temporal.

His eternal hope offers finality to pain and tears. Revelation 21:4 tells us: “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (ESV). With eternal hope in our heart, we can peek above the present trial and know the final horizon will make all things right according to God’s great glory.

Yet, He doesn’t leave us only longing with only the eternal hope. He bring the dead back to life all around us.

  • The terminal diagnosis disappears.
  • The financial disaster turns around with humility and hard work.
  • The estranged child returns
  • The addict maintains sobriety
  • The heartache heals

And winter will, every year, turn into spring. Our God of hope gives us joy to be had. When we keep our eyes looking in expectation for His next resurrection, anticipation turns to joy in the blink of an eye.

Resurrections happen all the time. What needs an infusion of life in your life?

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Chronological Bible: November 19, A resurrected future…

Read:

  • Matthew 27:57-66
  • Mark 15:42-47
  • Luke 23:50-56
  • John 19:38-42
  • Matthew 28:1-8
  • Mark 16:1-8
  • Luke 24:1-12
  • John 20:1-13
  • Matthew 28:9-15
  • Mark 16:9-11
  • John 20:14-18

“…Why do you seek the living among the dead?” –Luke 24:5, ESV

Jesus came that we would experience the abundant life He promised to those who find their life in Him. Knowing Him, loving Him, brings peace and freedom that cannot be found in any other source. Yet the old life tempts. The old life that offered predictable stability, even when it was unhealthy stability, calls out. But we must remember the words of the angel at the tomb: Why do you seek the living among the dead? Why do you seek a life-affirming experience among the deadness of the old life? You cannot find life among the death of sin. Only in the resurrected Christ can you find the enriching, affirming life for which you long.

sayings of Christ: Week 18, I AM…

We are almost there! Hang in there for the culminating statements of Jesus: I AM this week and we will wrap up with Freedom next week.

Read:

  • John 6:48 “I am the bread of life.”
  • John 8:12 “The Jesus again spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the Light of the world, he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”
  • John 10:7 “So Jesus said to them again, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.'”
  • John 10:11 “I am the good Shepherd, the good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.”
  • John 11:25 “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies.'”
  • John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.'”
  • John 15:1 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.”

THE GREAT I AM

Jesus is the great I AM. But what does that mean? And what does that mean in your own life?

Sometimes to understand something, you need to see its other side. To appreciate the brightness of an Arizona day, you may have to first experience the overcast gloom of Seattle in the spring. To grasp the power of the light, you may have to spend some time in the darkness.

To understand the great I AM, we may first need to explore one we know better: ourselves. We can understand the majesty of Jesus in light of the peasantry of our own experience. And sometimes knowing who you are begins with understanding who you are not. For help with that, let’s turn to John the Baptist.

Read the following scriptures and identify who John claimed to NOT be:

 

John 1:20

 

John 1:21

 

John 3:28

John knew who he was not. He was not the Christ or Elijah or the Prophet. He also knew his place.

What did John say about himself in John 1:27?

 

Yet John’s beginnings were far from ho-hum. Read Luke chapter 1 and summarize all the uniquenesses of John’s creation.

 

Why was Zacharias made mute?

 

Zacharias’ tongue was loosened after he did what?

So John was:

  • son of a priest chosen by God to burn incense before Him
  • miraculously conceived
  • filled with the Holy Spirit, even in-utero
  • described by angels
  • so important his father wouldn’t be allowed to speak until after his birth

Yet John did not boast in these things. He knew his purpose and claimed to be nothing more than one fulfilling his calling. John understood the majesty of Christ in part because he understood his lowly position in relation to Christ.

Another would come later with a similar perspective.

Read Philippians chapter 3.

 

According to this passage, who are you in relation to Christ?

 

Who are you not?

 

What is He telling you?

I AM THE BREAD OF LIFE

There are 289 uses of the word “bread” in the Bible. And the ways it is used varies. From bread on the table to the Bread of Life, God uses bread in a number of ways.

Jesus is the great I AM. And He says He is the bread of life. Let’s take a look at some of the ways He fulfill that very identity.

Read Genesis 3:17-19. What do you learn about bread?

 

Because of the curse, Adam would have to toil and work and sweat to get bread for his table.

With Jesus as our bread of life, do we have to toil for eternal life? Or is it freely given?

Though we may need to work to put food on the table, we no longer need to work to earn favor with God. Jesus, alone, is our favor. And He alone cancels the curse and fills the eternal hunger.

Read Exodus 16:4. What do you learn about bread?

God provides bread from heaven for the desert-bound Israelites. He provides sustenance in dry places.

In what ways is Jesus the sustenance in the dry places of your life?

 

Read Acts 2:41-47. What role did bread play in the early church?

Breaking bread together is a sign of fellowship. You won’t often invite an enemy over for dinner. Yet inviting one to your table extends a sign of friendship and camaraderie.

In what ways is Jesus the fellowship link in your life?

 

Praise Him for all the ways He is your bread of life.

 

I AM THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD

Read John 8:12. What stands out to you?

 

What does it mean to you that you do not have to walk in darkness?

 

What does it mean to you that you (possess, carry, keep) the Light of life?

 

Read Matthew 5:14-16. What stands out to you?

 

How can you be the light of the world if Jesus is the light of the world?

 

It is a heavy responsibility to carry the name of Christ. He is the light of the world. And He is in us. Therefore, we are lights in the world. It is uncomfortable to realize that Christ has identified us in this way. It is disturbing to realize that He has us here to show the world who He is.

In what ways have you forgotten this responsibility? (in your work? your home? your actions? your desires? etc.)

Bring each before Jesus. Accept His comforting hand and ask for His guidance as you shine your light before men.

Meditate on Psalm 139:11-12.

 

I AM THE DOOR OF THE SHEEP

Doors serve the function of both being the first point of welcome, but also the point of protection in a home.

Read John 10:7. What stands out to you?

 

What does it mean to you that Jesus is the door?

 

Read Exodus 12:21-27. What stands out to you?

Jesus is our door and our Passover Lamb. His blood protects us from the destruction we deserve. And the actions are to be visible signs, that when the children ask, you will tell them how God delivered you.

In what ways can you live to show Jesus as the door?

 

I AM THE GOOD SHEPHERD

For me, the most powerful aspect of this truth is found in John 10:14. Read it. What stands out to you?

Jesus knows you. And He loves you just the same. He knows the dangers threatening your peace, and He knows the enemy on the prowl. He knows the thoughts that assail your mind, and the heart that truly desires to serve Him even though you may not always understand how to do so.

He knows. Lay everything before Him. He knows already; and He loves you.

I AM:
THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE
THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE
THE TRUE VINE

Using your concordance, look up scriptures to gain understanding of these concepts. It may be that resurrection stands out more to you than “life”, or maybe vice versa. It may be that truth is where you struggle and you want to know more about that. Or it could be that this concept of vine intrigues you, and you want to see all the different ways it is used throughout scripture.

Pick whatever is standing out to you and study it. You will be amazed at what Christ can show you.

 

Thank Him for everything He is.

A Grateful Nation Remembers…

In a life where the number of deaths experienced outnumbers the number of years lived, the passing of loved ones becomes almost normal.  Heart-wrenching and grief-inducing, but such a normal part of the birth-life-death cycle.

Hebrews 12 provides a peek into the heavenly realm of the eternal life promised in John 3:16-17

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” –Hebrews 12:1-12, NKJV

There is a crowd of the faithful who have passed on before us–cheering us on in the race of faith.

On Memorial Day, I am grateful for the faithful in the military.  For those who have dedicated their lives to defending our freedom, and those who have given their final breath, may God bless and keep you and your families while a grateful nation remembers.

 

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If we’re willing to let it…

There are forces of which we do not understand.  Over the past several years, in on-and-off fashion, I have worked my way through a book about creation written by an astrophysicist.  One of the profound things that I have taken away from the intense techno-speak is this: the most brilliant minds in the world agree that, at MINIMUM, 14 dimensions must exist in order for this world to function the way that it does.  We commonly understand four dimensions: height, width, depth, and time.  Astrophysicists believe there are at least 14–many insist there are up to a hundred different dimensions–but they all agree that there must be at least 14.  (How they figure that out is beyond me.)

These thoughts arise when I come upon a timing that can only be of God.  I am part of a Bible study that just started the third week of homework a couple of days ago.  I, however, hand’t gotten past day two.  This high-functioning, responsible, (neurotic?), gotta-get-my-responsibilities-done person hadn’t gotten past day 2.

I tried not to stress it, but I really did want to catch up.  Enter this weekend.  Spending time in the study is always rewarding.  Yet I stopped in my tracks when I came upon the following statement:

“The power of the resurrection trumps the power of the past if we’re willing to let it.” –Beth Moore, from James: Mercy Triumphs

I pondered it.  And I praised God for His timing.  Where I would have, in the past, breezed past it just to get the homework done, He slowed me down.

I needed that statement on this particular day.  I would not have seen Him in it three weeks ago.  I needed it today.  He knew that–so my homework sat undone until such a time that my heart would see Him reveal Himself in that one sentence.

I still haven’t moved beyond that statement.  I am writing this post, having not continued.  It is a holy moment of reflection.  Internal lessons on forgiveness, leaving burdens, and moving forward mesh with the idea that the resurrection trumps it all–if I am willing to let it.

And I am…

So, for now, my bookmark rests–still on day 2 of the homework, two pages beyond where I was when I started.

There are at least 14 dimensions that make our world work.  Only God could orchestrate the timing needed for the greatest impact in my heart, to His greater glory.

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Photo by Katia Grimmer-Laversanne