Tag Archives: resurrection

Deuteronomy 33,34; Psalm 119:145-176; Isaiah 60; Matthew 8

To the Leper: Without discrimination or hesitation: “Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, ‘I am willing; be cleansed,’” (Matthew 8:3). What are my biases, my prejudices? How many times have I withheld my hands from reaching out to strangers, the homeless, those who are needy? Where did I rationalize caution when obedience would have best mirrored Christ?

To the Centurion:  Without hesitation or stipulation: “And Jesus said to him, ‘I will come and heal him,’” (Matthew 8:7). How have routine and self-imposed obligations built a wall of separation from the immediacy outside of my world? How often have I held back from offering a hand and depended on the prompt responses of others to do what I would not?

To King David: Without fear of rejection and with assurance of God’s covenantal love and His just nature, David calls out: “Hear my voice according to Your lovingkindness; O Lord, revive me according to Your justice,” (Psalm 119:149). When was the last time that I praised God for His lovingkindness and supported His acts of justice? How often do I seek Him with confidence that He has loving thoughts toward me?

To Moses: Without complaint or argument: “So Moses the servant of the Lord died there…by the mouth of Hashem,” (Deut 34:5, 6). The mouth of Hashem has been interpreted as the Divine Kiss. How is it that I continue to wrestle with the sting of death instead of the joy of my salvation? Do I long to see Christ face to face only to ask about earthly matters?

After a self-examination, I am tempted to sink to the ground in despair. I still know what it feels like to sin. I have heard it said God looks down at me and sees me dipped in the cleansing blood of Christ. However, in my human nature, I do not feel perfect or holy. Yet, I will be perfect in holiness one day – not because I finally get it right or because I have stored up enough good deeds to outweigh the sins that will burn before my eyes (and the Lord’s eyes!). Rather, I will be changed from this woman struggling to fight the good fight into the beloved bride of Christ by the same resurrection power that raised Christ from the dead.

To Me/to all His beloved: “Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you,” (Isaiah 60:1). Without doubt and with a contented sigh, take a deep breath: Deut 33:26, 27 says, “There is no one like the God of Jeshurun, Who rides the heavens to help you, And in His excellency on the clouds. The eternal God is your refuge, And underneath are the everlasting arms…”

I confess that I need God to be the Divine Warrior who is always ready to be my protector, even though I may start the fight. I need Him to be a place where I can run when my poor decisions or unintentional mistakes cause chaos and distress to chase after me. I need the assurance of God’s strong arm that delivers me with love and with power when I am least able to defend myself. Nothing can compare to the way God shows Himself to His beloved.

Janet (jansuwilkinson)

All Scripture quoted from The Nelson Study Bible, New King James Version, Trinity Fellowship Church 25th Anniversary Commemorative Edition, 2002.

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Deuteronomy, Isaiah, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Matthew, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms, Uncategorized

Leviticus 20; Psalm 25; Ecclesiastes 3; 1Timothy 5

“I know that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. 

God has done this so that all should stand in awe before him.” Ecclesiastes 3:14

Of all days on the Christian calendar, this is the day to let our jaws drop and stand in awe of the mighty work of God on our behalf. It was from His holiness that the supernatural power of His love overcame broke the chains that sin and death held us prisoner. “Up from the grave he arose,” says the old hymn. The Resurrection changes everything.

I need Easter to remind me of the fundamental truth of my life. All that I am is fundamentally tied to the Resurrection. It is the air I breathe. Without it, I am a vapor that is here one moment, gone the next. With it, I have the joy of knowing that whatever comes my way in this life, I belong to Jesus. I am his and he is mine. His work for me is complete, while his work in me continues

“Consecrate yourselves therefor and be holy, for I am the Lord your God. Keep my statues and observe them since I am the Lord, I sanctify you.”  Leviticus 20:7-8

Lord, from your beauty and holiness, you call me to follow you. You are the Spring rain that falls;  you have cleansed and forgiven me of my sin. You are the coolness that revives what is weary and broken. You bring the freshness of a new day dawning. Your Resurrection bursts through the sorrow, pain and isolation of Good Friday to birth light and life and the song of Easter. Praise you Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Your love endures forever.  Amen

klueh

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Exodus 33; John 12; Proverbs 9; Ephesians 2

I may be a bit morbid, but I think a lot about the living and the dead. On one level I am asking the ageless questions about who lives and who dies and why. These questions pave the path of pain that leaves a jagged swatch of loss I cannot conceal. If you know me well, you have sat with me during those times of grief. On a deeper level I am wrestling with existential crisis questions such as the meaning and purpose in this life. These thoughts are universal.

In John 12:1 we read, “Then, six days before Passover Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead.” How fitting that Jesus would be in the house of the man who had tasted death and returned to life after three days!” Perhaps Jesus thought of His own imminent physical death by crucifixion. Can you imagine how that memory of seeing Lazarus walk from the cave into the light and now sitting next to him impacted Christ? Was this inspiration for Jesus to prophecy His own death?  Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain,” (John 12:23). The souls saved through the miracle of raising Lazarus would pale in numbers to the generations of souls saved through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

So what did Lazarus do to deserve life after death (the first time)? Can we add to a lifespan, or is the numbering of our days unlikely to change? My curiosity was piqued after reading this interesting passage in Proverbs 9:10-11. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding, For by me your days will be multiplied, And years of life will be added to you,” (my emphasis.) Can it be that life is extended through the wisdom and word of God?

Of course, my next thought is an automatic negative one that says, “Yea, but what if I have molded the golden calf?”

Sometimes the New Testament Jesus is preached as if Christ brought love to a world which had only known the wrath of the God of the Old Testament. I’ve come to believe that this line of thinking may be an example of how our ways are not like His. For in Exodus 33:18, 19 when Moses had asked for a demonstration of God’s favor (remember this is after the Israelites’ faithless worship of their man-made golden calf). God said, “I shall make all My goodness pass before you, and I shall call out with the Name Hashem (Mercy) before you; I shall show favor when I choose to show favor, and I shall show mercy when I choose to show mercy.” God was about to show Moses the 13 Attributes of Mercy (see Exodus 34,) that Moses was to teach His people. God wanted them and us to invoke these attributes of mercy in prayers.

Mercy is for the living. Ephesians 2:1,4, and10 declares, “And you He made alive…God who is rich in mercy because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which He prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

My prayer: God, give me revelation and understanding. Without Your mercy, I have nothing. And like Moses, I say that without Your Presence, I will not move. Even though I have done nothing to deserve Your favor, I seek Your goodness through the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, my Savior. Praise You for however many days to come, continually living in Your presence.

Janet (jansuwilkinson)

All Scripture quoted from The Nelson Study Bible, New King James Version, Trinity Fellowship Church 25th Anniversary Commemorative Edition, 2002.

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Ephesians, Exodus, John, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Proverbs, Uncategorized

Ezekiel 31-33; John 11

“So the sisters sent word to Jesus, ‘Lord, the one you love is sick.’ ” John 11:3

Jesus lingers and Lazarus dies. His sisters are heartbroken. The One who loves them and has the power to heal and save doesn’t show. When Jesus finally arrives, Martha goes to Jesus and speaks words of faith,

“Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now God will give you whatever you ask.” John 11:21-22.

And Jesus reveals to her who He is.

“Yes, Lord, I believe that you are Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.” John 11:27

Mary’s initial response is different. She stays home blanketed in grief and pain. The weeping sister falls at the feet of Jesus and acknowledges her deep disappointment. Jesus,  deeply moved asks, “Where have you laid him?” John 11:34.

Jesus asks me a similar question. Where have I laid disappointment and pain? Guilt and shame? Where have I buried hurt and lost hope? Where are the dark, inconsolable corners of life? I pray that God would open those places so I can say with Martha and Mary,

“Come and see, Lord.”  John 11:34.

Wherever Jesus goes, light, life and joy follow. It is still a broken world; Lazarus will die again, but Jesus has broken the power of sin and death:

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25.

Lord, give me the gift of faith. Help me to be honest with you and allow you into those places of my heart that I have kept hidden even from myself. You know me better than myself. Have your way with me and bring your healing and life eternal where the sorrow is deep and the hope is gone. You alone are my hope and joy. Amen.

Klueh

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Jonah; Matthew 11

“But Jonah set out to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.” Jonah 1:3

“…and Jonah was in the belly of the whale for three days and three nights.” Jonah 1:17

Jonah finds himself at the lower end of the food chain and in the belly of a whale. I may laugh at the ridiculousness of Jonah attempting to flee God, but I have done the same. I have fled His presence and found myself consumed by personal drama and busyness. God offered to let me bask in the truth of the resurrection and I have told Him that He is not enough. I have gotten caught up in trying to make the world turn as I would have it.

Later, Jonah finds himself pouting and complaining to God that He is a just and merciful. Does’t he want God to be just that? God isn’t his puppet. Jesus accuses the crowd of similar behavior, “But to what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to one another, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not dance; we wailed and you did not mourn.’ ” Matthew 11:16-17

How often do I tell God He isn’t who I want Him to be? And where does all that get me? Exhausted, angry, spent, far from my true home…his Presence.

God allows me to reject Him in ways both large and small. He allows me to choose, but as soon as I repent of my foolish notions and stubborn ways, He welcomes me home.

Resting in God’s love and grabbing onto the wonderful truth of the Resurrection is the path home. Why He has called me to follow Him is beyond my comprehension, but I will claim Him as my own and hold onto His Word;

“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, an learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11:28-30

Klueh

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Deuteronomy 15-18; Psalm 115; Luke 9

Worshiping God as a celebration. What a novel idea.  It’s hard to wrap my head around how the Israelites found pleasure in worshiping God with rules, regulations, and ritual that seem excessive and burdensome.  It’s like Christmas or Easter. So many days leading up to the ‘celebrations’ and all the fuss we make of these holidays.  Yet, I wonder how much of my rituals and traditions are even focused on worshiping God.  Much of what I do is buy, wrap, cook, spend, decorate, and stay up too late at night catching up on my regular chores. However, the God-given feasts, such as the Passover that celebrated God’s deliverance of the Israelites, were less about man to man and all about man to God. Something for me is missing, I think, today. Instead of a Holy Day celebrating the blessing of God in our lives, we chase the illusion of happiness on a holiday from work or to relieve the boredom of just another day.

Another contrast of our worship with the Israelites of the Old Testament is that they feared their God where we tend to take Him for granted. In Deuteronomy 18:16-17, the Lord’s chosen people said, “Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, nor let me see this great fire anymore, lest I die.  And the Lord said… ‘What they have spoken is good. I will raise up for them a Prophet.’” If we could know this level of trust in the absolute holiness of our God, we might begin to understand the High Priest and King who was sent to deliver us.

Oh, we usually start out with reverence and awe when we embrace the Messiah’s passion and resurrection. We mumble humble thanks year after year when remembering His sacrifice and merciful forgiveness.  Over time, though, it is so easy to get wrapped up in the routine of church services and the complacency as a spectator – letting someone else do the talking, the praying, the serving. I guess most of us need led which was even more reason for God to send us Jesus Christ. I’m not so worried about our desire to listen more than preach. Some of us need longer than others to believe we are accepted. But when we forget that “The dead do not praise the Lord, Nor any who go down into silence. But we will bless the Lord From this time forth and forevermore,” (Psalm 115:17, 18) – when we forget this, we lose our opportunity to worship while we live on this earth.

So worship Jesus Christ for setting His face toward the road of suffering. Worship His exodus from earth to heaven through His death and resurrection. Worship His “coming into his own glory, and in His Father’s and of the holy angels,” as Christ said would happen, (Luke 9:26). And worship only Him.

Not to us, O Lord, not to us,

But to Your name give glory

Because of Your lovingkindness, because of Your truth. (Psalm 115:1)

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Proverbs 11-12; I Corinthians 15:33-58

A cemetery parallels the hill on which this house was built – separated by what at first appears to be a forest but is instead a thin band of wild hickories, spiked grasses, and deceptive blooms – mustard yellow, cornflower blue, and clinging purple morning glories that wilt nightly.

To enter is not far.

From the entrance below is the fixed view of a bricked and glassed, untroubled house of stillness, chandelier lit inside, regally beckoning us all.  Left of the perpetually broadening expanse of ancestral proof are the three, expected wooden beams aesthetically posted and crossed.

While walking once more the path paved for the living, for the first time in all those others spent contemplating the sting of death, came this thought – since Christ and only one of two other men who hung on the infamous trees of ancient history were resurrected to eternal life, why do we insist on symbolizing three deaths instead of two? Especially at the cemetery where my sympathies rest on every family’s upright stone or lone individual’s carved name will I find it difficult to imagine the eternal damnation met by many here .

I Corinthians 15:42-44 says, “The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption.  It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory.  It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.” So something happened to those whose bodies were laid in these graves, something after they were living, breathing, beings that was unavoidable, maybe unexpected, definitely supernaturally appointed. Only I don’t want to believe that like the extra cross carrying one man away from life in paradise, many of these souls below my feet waited too long and time cheated them of one last chance to die to self in the natural.

The truth which cannot be changed is that Christ took one, not both criminals to Paradise that day of His resurrection. In Proverbs 11:18-19, God reminds us that “The wicked man does deceptive work, but he who sows righteousness will have a sure reward. As righteousness leads to life, so he who pursues evil pursues it to his own death.”  And again in Proverbs 12:28, the emphasis is unmistaken, “In the way of righteousness is life, and in its pathway there is no death.”

What would happen if we were to begin using two, not three crosses to represent the resurrected Christ?  Would anyone think to ask what happened to the third dying man? Just one cross – we see the resurrected Christ; two crosses – resurrected life and salvation. It would seem the focus would be on Christ’s redemptive work.  Yet, dug and cemented deeply in this world in miniature of pasts and futures are three crosses – resurrection and redemption but also tragic loss of life and soul separated from all that is love and beauty.

If I think rightly, I will remember that to enter that world may be soon. Yes, I will be there, too. If only I had to think about my own redemptive story, how complacent I might become.  So I guess that third cross is to remind me that I have a duty to warn and woo every soon-to-be-changed body among the living.  A reminder to say today, believe and be changed from the natural to the spiritual.

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