Music Mondays- This Is Our God by Phil Wickham

We have sung this song during worship the past few Sundays and I love how it reminds us of the love and power of Jesus. Jesus loves us so much that he died on the cross for us, but because he has all power, he defeated death for us.

Whatever we experience in this life, we can trust that Jesus is with us and has the power to help.

In a few weeks, we will celebrate the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday. This Is Our God is an excellent song for Easter Sunday.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

About That Time Change

Time change weekend always makes me a little curious to see how many people end up coming to second service at church that would normally come to first service. I wonder how many simply watched online Sunday. It is interesting to observe how changing clocks only one hour can affect lives. It is easy for me to talk about it because I am on break this week, so I can ease into the change.

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Side note-Loosing that hour of sleep caused me to not be able to do something with that hour but due to the loss of the hour of sleep, I was sleep deprived so I forgot what it was. 🙂

Okay so back to my post. People have differing views about changing time and which time change they prefer whether it is the extra hour of sleep in the fall or lose an hour of sleep in the spring. When we change time, I always think of the craziest experience I had.

It was in October 1999. I had a ministry trip to Romania. It was my shortest trip to Romania which included an eight hour time change to the time there. After the trip, we spent four days in a small city outside of London England which was a two time change. Then we flew back home which was a six hour time change arriving back a few days before the fall time change of one hour back. My internal clock was messed up for weeks.

A time that I think all of us Christian bloggers wish we could know is the time set for when Jesus returns for us. The disciples had that as a burning question after Jesus’s resurrection. They asked Jesus about when he was going to set up his kingdom. We read about it in Acts 1:6-8:

Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”

He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

I do not fault the disciples for the question. The Romans occupied the land. They knew Jesus was the long awaited Messiah, promised one, and were witnesses to the fact that he defeated death. So natural assumption would be if he can defeat death, when will he restore the kingdom.

The answer? It is not for you to know. It is not for us to know when. It is for us to be his witnesses, to share him with others.

And what a way to get their attention. He ascended to heaven right before their eyes. Exclamation Point!!!

After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

So it is not for me to know when. There are general signs to look for to be prepared, but it is not for me, for us to know when. Jesus has given us work to do and to focus on.

I still wish we would stop with the whole time change though and just settle on one or the other. 🙂

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Music Mondays- Miracle Power by We The Kingdom

The same miracle power that raised Jesus from the dead is still at work transforming lives freeing people from addiction, restoring hope to the hopeless, restoring families, freeing people up to live new lives in Jesus.

As Romans 8:11 says

 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.

Whatever circumstance we are in, we can experience the same miracle power that raised Jesus to work in our lives.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Jesus’s Resurrection Written About Hundreds of Before It Happened

It is one thing to have a lucky guess about a future event such as who will win the World Cup or as in the case of weather where I live, the weather person on TV forecasting correctly. It is another thing to write about something hundreds of years before it happens.

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1n the start of 1st Corinthians 15 we read:

By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,  that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,

The phrase according to the scriptures is something that needs to considered not just brushed by. The reason it needs to be considered is what scriptures it is referring to.

At the time of writing 2nd Corinthians, there was no New Testament put together as we have in our bibles. Paul’s 2nd letter to the Corinthians was written about ten years before Luke, Matthew and Mark. It was written about thirty years before John was written.

So what scriptures is Paul referring to? He was referring to what we call the Old Testament. One example is found in Psalm 16:

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
    my body also will rest secure,
 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
    nor will you let your faithful one see decay.

Another one is found in Isaiah 53 the chapter that has specific details about the Suffering Servant-Jesus.

After he has suffered,
    he will see the light of life and be satisfied
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
    and he will bear their iniquities.

So my friends, the resurrection of Jesus was written about hundreds of years before Jesus came, hundreds of years before he died on the cross and was resurrected.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Jesus Defeated Death and Will Share His Victory

It is Easter Sunday my favorite Sunday of the year. Today we remember that Jesus defeated death through his resurrection. He took on that which we fear most, death, and defeated it. Jesus is alive and on his throne in heaven.

Jesus’s resurrection also shows how completely he saves us. He died for our sins, so we can be forgiven by God and have eternal life. But our eternal life will not be only our spirits. Jesus will share the victory of his resurrection with us.

1sr Corinthians 15:

When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

 “Where, O death, is your victory?
    Where, O death, is your sting?”

 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

and 1st Thessalonians 4:

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.

Because of Jesus, we can look forward to eternity with resurrected bodies completely saved mind, spirit, soul and body. Because of Jesus, we can see our loved ones again.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Ghosts Don’t Eat or Cook- John Chapter 21

The details of John 21 show that Jesus was in a physical body after his resurrection. The disciples were on a boat fishing when Jesus showed up and cooked breakfast for them. But he got their attention before they had breakfast with him.

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 “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

 Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.

 He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”

“No,” they answered.

Jesus was setting it up for them to realize it was him based on another occasion when the disciples were fishing. In Luke 5 we read.

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon“Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”

Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

On that occasion they had caught nothing all night, but Jesus told them to let down their nets and they had a haul of fish so large it took two boats to handle it.

So after his resurrection, again the disciples have caught nothing. Jesus told them where to cast their net and this time they also had a huge haul of fish.

He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.

The disciples realized it was Jesus. They came ashore and found Jesus had breakfast ready for them.

When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.”  So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn.  Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord.  Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 

Jesus cooked for them and served them their breakfast. Luke records another occasion after the resurrection that Jesus ate with them.

When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?”  They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence

Ghosts, I don’t believe there are any, do not cook or eat. Jesus did both after his resurrection. Jesus was resurrected in his physical body just as those who believe in Jesus will one day in the future.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Through One Man’s Doubts, A Beautiful Truth Revealed- John Chapter 20

Last week we looked at Mary Magdalene being the first person to see Jesus after his resurrection in From A Life Of Dishonor To Receiving A Great Honor. Today we will look at the second and third appearances of Jesus after his resurrection that John records. There were other appearances one can read about in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. But John records these two to set up the backstory to a wonderful truth Jesus shared.

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After Jesus’s appearance to Mary, John records Jesus’s appearance to his disciples, well all but one. Jesus displayed his power through the ultimate grand entrance. He appeared among them without going through the locked door.

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!”

This would definitely get my attention sitting there talking with friends, hiding behind a locked door out of fear and all of the sudden there is Jesus in the midst of the group. He gives them the simple customary greeting-Peace be with you.

Jesus showed them his hands and side to provide proof it was indeed him and even more to show them the depths of his love that he would do as he said in John 15:13:

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

The one who wasn’t there? He is the one we get the phrase doubting Thomas from. In all fairness to Thomas, we have to understand where he was coming from. He experienced the same things the other disciples experienced watching Jesus be arrested. He knew Jesus had been crucified. Yes, he was there when Jesus brought Lazarus back from the dead and yes he had heard Jesus talking about dying and defeating death. But think of the emotional roller coaster for him and all the disciples. So Thomas expressed his doubts.

“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.”

The stage is set now for Jesus to repeat his grand entrance thus setting up a beautiful truth for us.

 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!

I imagine the other eleven weren’t used to this but for Thomas it was the first time. Jesus told Thomas:

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.”

Then Thomas believed.

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

All of this sets up the wonderful truth for you and me. For all who have believed in Jesus over the centuries even though we have not seen him with our eyes.

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

There is a greater blessing for those who believe but have not seen. That is for all who believe in Jesus. We will not fully know what that blessing is until we enter into heaven.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

From A Life of Dishonor to Receiving A Great Honor-Mary Magdalene- John Chapter 20

Luke Chapter 8:2-
and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out;

Luke records the earliest information about Mary Magdalene out of the four gospel writers. It could be overlooked, but there is a reason to take note. Mary Magdalene had seven demons. Jesus came along and set her free. He not only set her free, he welcomed her into his group.

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We do not know exactly what her life was like. We only know she had seven demons, so we can conclude from that that she was perhaps an outcast in society.

There is a saying that those who are forgiven of much, who are rescued such as Mary Magdalene was, will love much. We see it at the foot of the cross. Jesus was dying and who was there?

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene

Mary Magdalene along with Mary the mother of Jesus, her sister. and other women named Mary It was basically some women named Mary and John. Mary Magdalene was there watching as the person who rescued her was dying on the cross. She wanted to be there for him.

So who did Jesus appear to first after his resurrection? Mary Magdalene. Jesus could have chosen to appear to anyone first, one of the male disciples like John or Peter, or a haha moment in front of the religious leaders or Pilate. But no, Jesus chose to appear to Mary first.

How he appeared to her and revealed himself is quite telling.

At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).

Imagine the emotions of Mary. She had seen Jesus die on the cross. The man who rescued her and gave her a new life die on the cross. Then the stone was rolled away and the tomb was empty. Her eyes full of tears and emotionally a wreck she did not recognize Jesus.

But when Jesus said her name- Mary- she recognized him and wanted to hug him big time.

Jesus chose to bestow the honor of being the first to see him after his resurrection on Mary Magdalene This shows us how completely Jesus restores. How deeply he cares for all. For all of eternity, Mary Magdalene can say she was the first to see Jesus after his resurrection.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Grateful I Didn’t Kick The Doctor Yesterday

I receive injections in my knee trying to delay knee replacement. I will never forget the first time I had one. It was with my GP. When he started the injection, I had a reflex and would have kicked him, but he was holding my leg, so I didn’t.

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Each time I get an injection, I wonder if I will kick the doctor unintentionally. Yesterday I went to the orthopedic surgeon for an injection and thankfully I didn’t kick him. I think it helped that he has me lay down whereas my GP does it while I am sitting.

It is the minor victories like that help me keep a sense of humor about doctors. 🙂

I don’t see a doctor again until February when I go back to the rheumatologist. Well, except for the eye doctor but they don’t poke with needles, draw blood, or any other things that make doctors visits a bit unpleasant.

My previous four injections his Physicians Assistant did for me, but yesterday the surgeon did it. He also checked my knee and spoke doctorese into some dictation thingamajig. I thought about asking what it all meant, but a meme I saw explains it well. The message was:

When I was a child my parents dragged me to the doctor. Now I avoid the doctor and hope I don’t die.

So I am keeping some intentional ignorance of his doctorese. Why? Because I figure if it was really bad, he would have told me I need tests. He only gave me the injection. So off I went to return home. 🙂

Moments like that and all of the moments of living with chronic illness make me selfishly long for the return of Jesus, so I can have a new body. 🙂

But then what about all of those who need to come to know him first. That thought along snaps me back to the right mindset.

Do you like doctors? Which is worse, the doctor or the dentist?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Why We Can Have Peace and Gratitude in any Circumstance- John Chapter 16

Jesus had revealed to the disciples the hardships they would endure. When I think of what they experienced, being put in jail, being put out of the synagogue, being ostracized, being tortured and being put to death because of their faith in Jesus and proclaiming Jesus, it greatly enhances my appreciation of the closing words of John 16.

 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

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Jesus wants us to have peace in our souls in any situation and hardship in life. He gives us the peace that transcends all understanding. We can rest assured that whatever we face in this life, Jesus is with us.

The disciples/apostles did not back down in the face of what they endured because they had seen something. They saw Jesus after his resurrection. They ate breakfast with him. He showed them his scars. They knew Jesus had been crucified to death and then saw him after he defeated death.

They knew he had overcome death They knew he had overcome the world full of strife, disease, hatred, wars etc. Jesus shares his victory with us. We can be assured that we will be with him forever.

Every problem in this life is temporary. Eternal life begins the moment we trust Jesus as our savior. It does not begin when we enter heaven, it begins when we place our faith in Jesus because eternal life comes from relationship with Jesus. It is only our earthly bodies that will die someday. Our souls will live forever and one day be reunited with our bodies in the resurrection.

That why Jesus said ‘take heart’ because in him we have eternal life no matter what happens in this life. He is also with us always in this life.

If you know Jesus, how does it make you feel to know Jesus says- ‘take heart’ because he has overcome the world?

If you do not know Jesus, you can by telling him you want him in your life, want his forgiveness, and that you believe he is the savior who died for you.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.