Tag Archives: resurrection

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



Leave a comment

Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Uncategorized

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)

Leave a comment

Filed under 66 Books, Deuteronomy, Luke, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms

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.


Filed under 1 Corinthians, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Old Testament, Proverbs

I Kings 8 – 9; Luke 23:29-56

What a celebration the people made!  The legendary temple was built in splendor; the ark of the covenant was brought into the holy place by the priests; the sacrifices and prayers were rewarded with the presence of God dwelling in a dark cloud; and the people went home filled with joy. Yet even Solomon who built that temple said, “But will God indeed dwell on the earth?  Behold heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You,” (I Kings 8:27).

How the people beat their breasts!  Jesus Christ, the King of the Jews, had died a despicable death; the veil in the temple was supernaturally torn in two; the heavens were silent, the skies darkened; and Christ’s followers stood at a distance, watching but too afraid to come forward, (Luke 23:44-48).

How could Solomon know how prophetic were his words, for not only was this temple destroyed, the physical body of Jesus Christ was about to be destroyed; this One that the “heaven and the heaven of heavens” could not hold.

I’ve never doubted that this earth could not hold back Jesus Christ from rising from the dead.  After all, Christ was with God at the beginning of creation when this earth was formed. But I had not given much thought to the fact that the heaven and the heaven of heavens could not contain Jesus Christ, either.

The Father could no more “let this cup pass” from Christ than Jesus, Himself, could return empty handed to the Father.  For Jesus Christ had left heaven for one purpose – to draw all men to Himself.  Mankind needed salvation; Jesus submitted to the beatings, the scourging, the nailing, and the mocking.  He answered with forgiveness, a promise of paradise to a thief, and a total commitment to complete the sacrifice well. The heavens could not stop Him from coming or from dying, and the earth could not stop Him from rising from the dead.

The amazing truth here is that this was God’s plan all along.  He left His heavenly home fully intending to save you and me; fully intending to dwell with you and me, not forever in some temple. Neither heaven nor earth could hold Him back.  How can we refuse Him when we know the redemption story? What should be our response knowing that we are the object of so great a love? Dancing in the streets? Singing? Kneeling in prayer and worship?  Telling all our family and friends? Breaking bread together with strangers and followers of Christ? However you do it – Celebrate!


Leave a comment

Filed under 1 Kings, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Luke, Old Testament

I Samuel 30-31; Luke 17:20-37

Taken.  Left behind. The popular idea is that the righteous will be taken and the unredeemed will be left behind. But what if the unrighteous are taken to a quick, eternal judgment and God’s elect are left in the field, at their work station, or in the bed that was once shared with a loved one (Luke 17:17:34-36).

I have often wondered about this.  How will I be able to stand myself knowing that the people I loved or associated with, or those who counted on me, or looked up to me…are gone…dead in their sins, literally, eternally? I’m not saying that I am judging others around me as if I know their eternal future; yet by their own admission, I am aware of many who do not call Jesus Christ their Lord.

When David, Israel’s king, was yet to be given that title, he commanded a military.  They obeyed all that he said and were willing to sacrifice their own lives for him. When he said to follow him into battle, they left children and wives and families behind.  On one occasion, they returned to the city to find that all their families, goods, and livestock had been taken.  The first thought that popped into their heads was to stone David. He could have tried to save himself, but he chose to pursue the enemy and take back all that was stolen.

During this same time in history, David’s enemy, King Saul, sought to kill David.  Yet Saul’s army was attacked, and because he feared being taken, he fell upon his own sword. His body was still taken by the Philistines, and he was beheaded and his body fastened to the wall.  We learn later that David mourned for Saul.

Like David, I mourn for those who may be taken.  There will be a resurrection, and I fear what their souls will experience in the darkness that awaits them.  I just finished watching The Passion, and one theme in the movie is that the multitudes who screamed for His crucifixion knew  little about Jesus Christ.  Jesus says, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”  These words bring hope, comfort, and most importantly forgiveness to all.

The obvious question to ask myself is , “What excuse will I tell myself when I am asked why did I not tell a sister, a neighbor, or a coworker about Jesus?” Besides not wanting to stand out, jeopardize my position at work, or state my position for the umpteenth time, I fear that I have not listened to the Holy Spirit leading. And He is leading me to stand up and to say:

We are all sinners in need of a Savior.  Our Savior came as a baby born to a virgin; he began his ministry at age 30, teaching that the kingdom of God was at hand; he suffered beatings at the hands of Pontius Pilot and was crucified and buried.  On the third day, He rose again and appeared to many for many days before ascending into heaven.  He lives forever, making intercession for us with God, the Father, and fulfilling His promises to us.  To live forever with Him we must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, ask Him to be Lord of our life, and believe in Him.  If we do this, we will not be left behind as orphans.  We will have the Holy Spirit living inside, teaching us all we need to know to love God and love one another.

No excuses. No fear.  No sorrow.  Only dancing and singing “Alleluia!” with the angels for everyone who comes to the Father by the Son. Happy Resurrection Day!



Filed under 1 Samuel, 66 Books, Luke, New Testament, Old Testament