THE VICTORY AT EASTER

 

(At your darkest hours, “where were you? Where did you go? His cross calls you in forgiveness and love.”)

Luke 23:32-43 (NIV)

32 Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”[a] And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

35 The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.”

36 The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar 37 and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”

38 There was a written notice above him, which read: 

“This is the King of the Jews,”

39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!”

40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.[b]

43 Jesus answered him, I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”

This robber who asked Jesus to remember him in His Kingdom, was never baptized. He had never done good works, he had never attended a tabernacle, and he certainly was not kind and loving to those he robbed.   Yet, he was the one who saw and believed in Jesus’ Kingdom at His last breath. He asked Jesus for forgiveness and Jesus by His grace forgave him while dying next to him.

Then: I asked Jesus, “Where were the disciples?   Where were the fishers of men? Where were those at your deepest hours to give the hope to others of Your Kingdom?”

Then this week before Easter Sunday, I found out why.  I heard the Living Word speak out the truth I had missed before.  That is what happens as we read with Him.  His Words live and breath and becomes our being.

It was written. The Old Testament has the prophecy that had to be fulfilled, like all the other truths of Jesus. So, His disciples were not supposed to be with Him.

Zechariah 13:7 and 8 “Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, against the man who is close to me, declares the Lord Almighty. Strike the Shepherd and the sheep will be scattered, and I will turn my hand against the little ones.”

This fulfills the Word of God for every prophecy of Jesus as answered.

Matthew 26:31 and 32 “ Then Jesus told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written: I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.”

John 19:25-27 “Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.   When Jesus saw His mother there, and the disciple whom He loves standing nearby, He said to His mother, ‘Dear woman, here is your son’, and to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.”

There is so much mockery and hate around Jesus on that cross. Do we know how that feels? Many Christians do.  Paul wrote about our sufferings for Jesus our Savior. Paul wrote he would count it all joy to suffer for Him.

Our perfect Savior suffered, He bled to death on the cross, and heard the vilest of words, and yet He still loved them all.   So can we expect any less than Jesus?   Can we expect to skip around the world’s darkness? Or do we make the Light shine?

I weep at the thought of forsaking my first love, my Jesus.  As I kneel at His cross and ask forgiveness, Jesus reminds me of His Words of Promises. Through His Love for us, we are forgiven forever.

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the House of the Lord forever”. (Psalms 23:6)

Where was I? Where was I when others were suffering and needed to know Jesus?   Where was I when people just like me were in desperation? Where was I when all others around me were hungry for the Truth? Where am I now?

Jesus asks us “Where are you?”

The robber on the cross makes this scripture come alive to speak:

 Romans 5:8 (NIV)

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

There is a new song in my heart since I first heard it. The world needs this song!

You and I can sing the same!

“The Cross meant to kill, is my Victory.” By David Crowder.

JESUS is The Victory! HE LIVES!

YOUR WINGS OF THE MORNING

Morning Dove in Peace stainglass

Psalm 139:9-10 (KJV)

9 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;

10 Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.

The blush of the morning Sun reveals that even there, He holds your right hand. He holds you as He soars your spirits in His Joy. Even if you are afar in the unknown seas, His comfort is with you. He holds you above the squalls of the waters.

The first moment of consciousness in the dawn is Jesus. You close your eyes, and empty the sleep of sands. He waits while you cleanse your thoughts only of Him. Then, He whispers, “Good Morning, I gave you a new day”! You experience the pure love as His child with no other cares in the world.

Jesus has shown you how to find Him intimately on the “wings of the morning”.   As you personally know Him deeper, your highest desire is to share His Love with the world. Those prayers you say in a solitary place; rise to Him with a sweet aroma. He whispers in the morning dew, “Join Me, I have equipped you with all you need to become a fisher of men.”

His hand will lead and hold you on your journey.

Prayer 1. Dear Father, my first love of life, please lead me beside the still waters and restore my soul.

Prayer 2. In the quietness of my solitary place dear Lord, please whisper again the path You hold before me.

 

 

https://video.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?fr=yhs-avast-brwsr001&hsimp=yhs-brwsr001&hspart=avast&p=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3Dczxd5oa-gi0#id=1&vid=da1ed000697b7e3a2498ce6360ecf279&action=click

 

Prayer 1. Dear Father, my first love of life, please lead me beside the still waters and restore my soul.

Prayer 2. In the quietness of my solitary place dear Lord, please whisper again the path You hold before me.

 

GOD NAMES EVERYTHING

In the beginning….

Genesis 2:8 “Now the Lord had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed.”

Genesis 2:10-14 “A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.) The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush. The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Asshur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.”

God names everything. Have you ever noticed that He names with Purpose? His Purpose is always living and loving. His Perfection cannot be changed ever. We are human and changeable, but our Teacher is God, He is unchangeable.

My husband likes to rename things in humor. They are always enjoyable to him. He calls our oldest daughter, LMA. “Last Minute Amy”, instead of her name, Amy. She is always late. Now we tell her that the meeting starts a whole hour earlier than it actually does. Yes, she is still late.

Years ago, instead of calling me dear or honey, he called me Mrs. P. Then our girls started calling him Mr. P. Our last name begins with a P. So after they were married, our son-in-laws started calling us by Mr. and Mrs. P. This is a nice difference from the normal mom and dad and seems special just for us.

When my first grand child tried to call me grandma, she ended up calling me “Gema”. Now all the rest of my five grand children call me that as well. It stuck! I love having a very unique name.

In the Old Testament of the Bible did you ever notice how many times God changed the names of His children? Here are a few:

Abram became Abraham because now he would be “a father of many nations”.
(Genesis 17:5)

Sarai became Sarah because now she would be “blessed as the mother of many nations”.
(Genesis 17:15)

Gideon became Jerub-Baal because he became “the Baal fighter”. (Judges 7:1)

Hadassah (sweet to righteousness) became Queen Esther “hiddeness” (Esther 2:10)

Simon Peter became Peter the “rock” of Jesus’ Church. (Matthew 16:18)

In my ladies group studying Gideon, this is a subject that came up. I asked God about the lesson of name changes. The answer sounded something like this; “Remember your name is written in My Book of Life? I have the right to name you, because I am your Father. Your parents named you because they had the right to on earth. I gave them that right. I have the right for your name in eternity with Me.”

We ladies began sharing messages of His Word to us. I spoke and shared this with them. I laughed, and asked, “Can you imagine God taking one of our Baby Name books and naming us?” They all laughed. Then I asked them, “What name do you suppose He has given us?” “What in our Purpose for Him are we following to be given a new name?”

Philippians 4:3 “Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellow, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.”

He knows my name!

THE GREAT TREE OF MOREH

TREE WITH ROOTSIn Genesis chapter 12 there is a mystery of God’s promise to Abram and all of Israel. This is the promise of His children’s nation. These earthly people are the chosen God would call His own. Canaan, the fertile region was being established.

Abram built altars there for the Lord. Building these altars honored God in reverence, prayer and worship, and reminders of God’s Promises. They provided his understanding that God centered his life. The one condition was Abram had to leave his present home and move to an unknown territory. Abram’s obedience completed the Promise God gave him. Abram’s descendants would become a great nation.

Who answers these conditions today? I can think of many pastors and missionaries who have prayed and received this calling by God. There are many others. I am sure you understand this. Even you can be called to leave or led to leave like Ruth.

Do I believe His Promise? Do I trust Him enough to calm the storm I am in? Like Peter, I have wavered and looked at the waves, keeping my eyes off of Jesus. He says, “Where are you going my child? Come to me.” He clutches my hand, and raises me up.

So on went Abram in trust of God’s Promise. He went to a tree called Moreh at the city of Shecham which has a great dealing in Scripture used again and again in reminders of God’s supremacy.

While reading this Chapter, I did not recall this tree mentioned before. I love how God opens the breathing, living Word to my heart. Today particularly I needed this.

Trees, I thought. Where else have I read about these in the Bible? Oh my goodness, so many times. (it is a great challenge for you to look for these other trees) This tree, though, I never remembered. Moreh means “teacher” in Hebrew. This was the first place in Canaan that Abram went to build the altars.

Now, we know that the trees mentioned in the Bible have many purposes in God’s Creation of them. More than we could ever imagine. From the roots of the trees to the fruits of them, God has made an inexpressible and majestic tool for His Plan. It is written! Breathe it, consume it, and taste the promises of His Hope.

Genesis 12:6 –7 “Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shecham. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. The Lord appeared to Abram and said, ‘To your offspring I will give this land’. So he built an altar there to the Lord, who appeared to him. (this is just the beginning of this great tree).
The Canaan Promise unveiled. There, God gave a place for them.

 

A RIGHT TO BE ANGRY?

 

vineyard-2

Jonah 4:9 (NIV)
9 But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the vine?”
“It is,” he said. “I am angry enough to die”.

We have often been met with a consequence where something just feels unfair. We look at others who seem to be so sinful that we cannot imagine God wanting to spare them from sin.

Jonah was such a prophet. He walked down the streets of the bloodthirsty Ninevites exclaiming, “Nineveh will be overthrown”. He believed they deserved to be destroyed because of their desire to conquer Israel.

God had a different plan. Yet, Jonah who was caught up in the belly of a fish still was sure God didn’t mean this. God was trying to show the need for Jonah’s obedience. Jonah knew what God said, but …. Oh, Oh, Jonah used the “but” word. When we say to God, “ but I know a better way”, that cannot be good.

God intended Ninevah to become an ally instead of an enemy for Israel. His plan was for them to believe in Him and worship the one true God. Jonah could not see this he did not pray for the true purpose and took his eyes off of God.

To further teach Jonah a lesson, God had a protecting vine grow around Jonah. The vine was gloriously filled with fruit and leaves. This vine, kept Jonah quite comfortable. The next morning when Jonah awoke the vine had shriveled, and once again Jonah was angry.

So then here is what God said to Jonah and us. Verse (10). “But the Lord said, “you have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. (11) But Nenevah has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?”

What does this say to us? Remember this scripture?

John 15:5 Jesus says; “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.”

John 15:8 Jesus says; “If anyone does not remain in Me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.”

Jonah was not remaining in God. Jesus is saying “you need to remain in Me as the branch” to bear His fruit of purpose.

I visited a renowned vineyard in Napa, Ca some years ago. The Casa I stayed in was so Italian flavored. There was a picturesque window allowing the view of this vineyard. Now, it was late February when I was visiting. During those times the vineyard is in a resting mode. However, much to my delight I saw the furrows around the vines were blooming. There was a golden layer of blooming mustard plants thriving on the hills.

As I looked further down the hill, I noticed two people with pliers in their gloved hands pruning the vines. I wondered why they were doing this now. There was hardly anything showing on the vines but wood.

Later I met one of the gardeners and asked, “Why all the mustard and why are you pruning now?” He answered, “The mustard will be tilled in the furrows soon and provide the nutrient food for the vines to grow. This is the perfect time to prune the branches back so they will soak up the food and present a completed harvest.”

I realized later, that God was showing me His process of bearing fruit for Him. There was a time I will admit, that I became Jonah, I did not remain with Jesus. I like Jonah thought my way was better than His. Even though God did not allow a huge fish to swallow me, He still taught me how to be obedient to Him.

There is no right to be angry with God. I really do not want to use the word “but” any longer.

I will remain in Him.

THE EMBER NIGHTS

 

glory-day

I Corinthians 12:9 “to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit.” (Spiritual Gifts)

Ember is a nurse that covered many of my night times at the hospital. This time through my brain disease journey, I had two weeks of Rehabilitation. Unlike the other four surgeries I have had from this disease, I needed a little more care.

Anyone who has spent a night in the hospital knows the regime of nursing. The hours of awakening and sleeping are unlike the home you live in. This is extremely so if you have a roommate. Voila, this was my status.

Ember nights were few but so appreciated on occurrence. Her name alone should tell us that she is like a light in the night shining. The times for my medications and IV checks became so minute. Many times I never awakened at all. Refreshed in plenty of sleep, I easily started healing.

I had several roommates in two weeks. God brought them in one by one. There were ones who encouraged, the ones who were crying in pain and sorrow, and others who prayed with me in full belief of a complete healing. Ember oozed healing covering us under her wings. We became known on that tenth level as “the Fun Room”!

The nurses told us that anytime our button was pushed for help, they argued who was going to the “Fun Room”. Two ladies I am in close contact with are still surprised at the times we shared together! One attended church with us yesterday. Jesus walks with her.

We would laugh and smile, pray and sing, and drink coffee. We had treats to share, flowers around us, and we seemed to giggle like children. The other nurses would come in and start dancing around while taking our vitals. Yes, Jesus was in this room where many stopped along their way peeking in. I loved it when they would smile into our doorway saying, “You are not allowed to laugh.” They meant it in complete joy.

There was Ember floating around the several rooms while still making more time for us all. Yes, we will always be thankful for those nights with Ember. She shared so much with us. She knew God’s presence with her and is journaling about her “Glory Moments”. Now she will write them too in a journal.

Smiling is a prescription to healing.

HIS LOVE IN THE STORM

 

the-storm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5bLvVjJ4MA

2 Chronicles 20:21 “Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise Him….

“Give thanks to the Lord, for His Love endures forever.”

As the armies were out there against Judah and Jerusalem, here is Jehoshaphat believing His voice to all who would hear.

2 Chronicles 20:15 “He said, Listen King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem, this is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.”

The battle is not ours, it is God’s. Oh give thanks to the Lord, for His love endures forever.

Have we forgotten the battles of Gideon, of David, of Jericho? Whose were they? Certainly no one could have won those battles the way the Lord our God did.

I notice in all of these times, God wants our praise, our songs, our prayers, and our adoration of the one true God! This is what we can do, because He has made us with the availability to love Him.

I have been through many storms. I thought I could fix them on my own. I thought it was me who had the answer. Since when did I create the world, or make the man of God? Who makes the sunshine, the moon glow, or the stars sparkle? God forgive me when I forget who You are!

When Peter was falling and slipping into the waves, He took his eyes off of Jesus, and became afraid. Jesus held His hand out and raised Peter. We will not sink if we keep our eyes on the One who saves. He is our all in all.

Our pastor just gave us a service that involved the story of “Cinderella”. Aptly there were great comparisons that would meet our understandings of God. The one that stood out the most for me was when the Prince was searching for his love. The beautiful princess he had met at the ball.

The stepmother of Cinderella locked her up in the tower. She knew it was Cinderella that the Prince was searching for. Cinderella refused to assist the stepmother of all her plots if she let her go. The stepmother was angry and left Cinderella.
Then the men met the two stepdaughters and knew they were not the one they were searching for. The Prince asked the stepmother, “Are these all of your daughters?” The Stepmother lied saying, “yes”.

The Chief was moving his men to leave when he heard the most beautiful song he had ever heard. He asked, “Who is that singing?” The stepmother lied that it was some worker. The leader of the men, said, “No, I think we need to examine this more”.

In the end, the Prince found Cinderella, in her clothing of rags. He loved her still, and asked her to marry him. She of course said yes. As they were leaving her stepmother, Cinderella said, “I forgive you”.

This story reminds me of one specific scripture written.

I Samuel 16:1 “The Lord said to Samuel, ‘How long will you mourn for Saul since I have rejected his as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem, I have chosen one of his sons to be king.’

Here it is as the time that the Prince rejects the stepdaughters, and says there is another.

I Samuel 16:10-13 “Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The Lord has not chosen these.” So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” “There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered, “but he is tending the sheep.” Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.” So he sent and had him brought in. He was ruddy, with a fine appearance and handsome features. Then the Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; he is the one.” So, Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came upon David in power.” Samuel then went back to Ramah.”

Are these all of your children? We cannot be hidden from God. We cannot hide from Him either. Even in the storms of the highest waves, the strongest winds, the quaking of the land, the Lord knows where His sheep are.

We will always see His Love in the storm. We belong to Him and He belongs to us. God is all we need.

HOW MUCH MORE?

Bridge Over Troubles Waters by Jimmie Scott

Romans 5:9-10 New International Version (NIV)

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!

 

How much more can we be saved? Is there more justification than the blood of Jesus? God planned the only solution of our salvation. He gave all His Love, His only Son, Jesus. There is no boundary. God is Love.

 

How would we tell a child? How can be simply share the understanding of His uncondtional Love.

 

My daughters needed to learn right from wrong. They had to experience what sin is. When that time happened, He let my spirit know. My chastisement of their wrongness usually caused tears of admissible sin. I hugged them in His forgiving love. Gently I held their head to look at my eyes and say, “There is someone who will always love and forgive you more.” They would shake their head no, not believing yet.

 

This is the time for God’s Word. I read the Bible about God’s love for His children. How Jesus died for them. This is how He forgave the sin they just did. (John 3:16)

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, so that whoever believeth in Him, shall not perish but have ever lasting life.”

 

To make a better understanding of His eternal Love, I asked them to listen to my heart. “Thump thump”, they would say. “Yes, I would tell them. That is the sound of Holy Spirit within me and He has carried my “thump love” in my new life with Jesus.” (the heart has two different, S1 and S2 sounds, I call them “thump love”.) I would read:

Psalm 8:2 New International Version (NIV)

Through the praise of children and infants
you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.

I would tell them; “Now, you know what sin is. This is when Jesus will save you. All you have to do is ask Jesus to come into your life. You will be forever His child and forgiven of all your sins. Forever is like sun, moon, and stars we see”. They would smile and say, “Yes, Mommy, I want Him to stay in my life”. So, we prayed, we prayed the most precious prayer of their life. “Dear Jesus, I know you died on the cross for my sins. I ask you to forgive me, to be my Lord and Savior all my life. I want to know you forever. Thank you, dear Jesus for loving me.”

 

I happen to have a stethoscope, and let them hear their own thump love. “See, I said, Jesus is in you now”. They would jump up and dance around singing. “Jesus loves me”. (I taught them that song from early childhood.)

 

How much more? There is no more. Jesus paid with everything God needed. He was no longer separated from us.   Jesus came in the flesh to cover our sins at the cross.

 

A few years ago I asked Jesus a question. (He likes our questions.) My question was, “How many more blessings are there? You have given me so many, there must be a limit.” God’s answer is written below:

Ezekiel 34:26 New International Version (NIV)

26 I will make them and the places surrounding my hill a blessing.[a] I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing.

 

God is telling us that He showers us in blessings. There is no ending there is no limit. He does not charge us interest in our relationship with Him.

 

HOW MUCH MORE?

By Joan Allen Pfeiffer

 

How much more,

Will there be wars?

How much more,

Struggle at the oars?

 

How much more,

Could God display?

How much more,

When we pray?

 

How much more,

Could Jesus pay?

There is no more,

His Love will stay.

 

Jesus paid it all for our sins.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DdgkvnsHjM

 

JESUS’ BOUNDLESSNESS

believe

JESUS’ BOUNDLESSNESS

By Pastor Dan

I contacted Pastor Dan, a wonderful man of God. Years ago I visited him in my hometown church. The message that Sunday clasped the tightness of grief away from my heart. I have shared it with others, and now have received permission from him to share it publicly. I will protect his full identity from others who do not share in these beliefs.

About a year after one of my loved ones dies, I usually have a dream. I call it the “resurrection dream.” In the dream, the real life happenings leading up to the person’s death get reviewed.

‘But, I thought you had a stroke and were in a nursing home.’

‘But, I thought you dropped dead of a heart attack.’

‘But, I thought you were run over by a drunk driver.’

‘But, I thought you were thrown from the vehicle.’

And the person who was dead tells me, “It was a mistake. I am alive, and I’m ok.” And in the dream they are concretely alive. I can see their person. I can hear his or her voice. I can touch them like I used to. I am always confused, relieved, mystified, apprehensive, joyful….all at once. But I awake in peace. The dream always unlocks something for me, sending me on my way toward life after death.

I always think there must be some archetypal truth to that dream. I always hope that there is some kind of universal truth of the human experience of resurrection in it. When I read the post-resurrection appearance stories like Jesus’ encounter with Thomas, I do so from a vantage point of one who has lived through the trauma of parting. I do so as one who has been confused, apprehensive, and relieved. I do so as one who has lived in the joyful mystery that somehow, someway, the power of life outlives the power of death.

In post-resurrection appearance stories, I always imagine that the disciples go through something like I do in my ‘resurrection dream’. It doesn’t take much to conjure up an understanding of their confusion, their apprehension, their polarities of sadness and joy as they mourn the end of the three years of ministry with Jesus, the three days of conflict and loss, and now deal with the ambiguity of a rising.

The fact is; they were touched by this Jesus….they bought into the things He said and the way He lived. They had experienced in Him the way the world ought to be. They walked with Him in His life, in His work, and in His suffering and death albeit in varying degrees of admirability. No matter how we scrutinize their behavior, they were there with Him through it in some degree of proximity.

So there they were in today’s story, alone but together, fearful, hiding in a locked up room on the night of the first Easter Sunday. They undoubtedly were trying to process the fast events of those days that were like a dream, nay, a nightmare, while they also lived in fear over what was next. “What was I thinking”? “If I’d have only done this instead of that!” “Where did the body go? Is He really risen from the dead?” “What’s going to happen to us?”

It was then that Jesus came to them, as they hid, locked in fear. The power of the resurrection began to shine forth for them when they saw their beloved Lord and they hear His voice saying, “Peace be with you.” He once again became a reality for them when he let them touch the wounds in His hands and side and breathed on them the Holy Spirit. Jesus unlocked for them the paschal mystery in which they had been participating. He was unlocking them in order to set them on course toward new life. And He did so by reminding them of their orientation to His way of life that they bought into: “As the father has sent me, so I send you. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any they are retained.”

I always think it must have been like a dream; like a quiet, amazing, beautiful, real, intimate dream Jesus quietly arose and began appearing to the people He had chosen to live His way of life, and carry out His mission. It must have been like a dream that, in a finite way, points to a reality that is so awesome, so moving, so profound, and so infinite.

The stark contrast between the finite and the infinite was exactly Thomas’ problem, and it’s a reasonable problem. Thomas, like any of us who were not there, as much as said, “I don’t get it. Y’all are nuts…going around talking about seeing Jesus alive. Unless I see I cannot believe.”

And in case we didn’t get the boundless character of Jesus in the first appearance to the disciples, we can’t help but to get it when Jesus appeared to Thomas. Not bound by death and the grave, not bound by fear and locked doors, not bound by even time and space, Jesus came back again for Thomas. “Peace be with you, “ Jesus said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt, but believe.”

At that moment, Jesus gave Thomas exactly what he needed for faith. The finite and the infinite converged. The bound became unbound. The locked became the unlocked. And Thomas uttered that moving faith declaration, “My Lord and My God!” And it echoes down through the centuries to us, who have not seen and yet believe.

As for the disciples on that first Easter night, form our perspective all these centuries later, the resurrection sometimes seems like half-dream and half-reality; half finite and half infinite. But the fact of the matter is that we live on this side of it and in its power. We are literally affected by Christ’s boundlessness to time and space. We live deeply, concretely in His real presence at our core and that does something good to our daily lives. It makes us rise.

So, do not doubt, but believe.

John 20:19-29New International Version (NIV)

Jesus Appears to His Disciples

19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

Jesus Appears to Thomas

24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

In my own understanding of Pastor Dan’s message, I am risen. Yes, I will admit that I too have had those “resurrection dreams.” I am not the only one who has besides him. Where is that cord that connects the finite to the infinite in Jesus? Faith to believe.

 

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™

Copyright for Pastor Dan must be honored.  Contact if there is a request to use by comment.

SHINING SONGS

This is my Fathers House picture

Thy Loving Kindness Is Better Than Life

Psalm 63:3 – 4 KJV

 “Because thy loving kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee, thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name.”

 

 

Oh, how I love this song. During my years at Bible College, our choir was taught this beautiful hymn. We sang it all over Arizona. From Flagstaff up north, all they way down to Bisbee, this song blessed so many churches.

My favorite place, however, was in Sedona. There in Sedona is a beautiful Chapel with special acoustics marbled into it. This song reverberated again and again. The result to me, sounded like angels singing.

 

WHAT DOES LOVE LOOK LIKE?

By St. Augustine

It has the hands to help others.

It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy.

It has the eyes to see misery and want.

It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men.

That is what Love looks like.

 

A great description of what loving kindness is like. St. Augustine wrote this between 354 AD and 450 AD. I think he must have read the above verse.

 

Lord, when did we see thee hungry…

Or thirsty…

A stranger…

Or naked…

Or in prison?

I think this is Loving kindness simply said. Walk humbly with your God.