Death

We sang at church on Sunday an older song (I hadn’t heard it for some time) about how Jesus has beaten the power of death. These are the fundamentals for a Christian – to confess Jesus as Lord, and to believe God raised Him from the dead (Romans 10:9).

Death had no power over Him, so it won’t have any power over us. Of course, I’m not saying we won’t die. “Everyone must die once” (Hebrews 9:27), and the process leading up to that can be very traumatic for people, but Hebrews 9 goes on: “Christ was offered as a sacrifice one time to take away the sins of many people. And He will come a second time, but not to offer Himself for sin. He will come the second time to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.” If we trust that Jesus has saved us from death, then we know we’ll go into eternity with God, and we’ll have life with Him forever. What have we got to lose? We may lose our lives on earth, but we’ll endure and shine like stars in God’s heavenly kingdom.

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It’s not Fair

Have you ever come to a point where you think the world’s such an unjust place? I’ve been reading this week about a 5-year-old girl who died in a horrible accident on her own driveway. I know God’s not the author of suffering, but I also know (from the book of Job in the Bible) that the devil can’t do anything without God’s say-so. It seems incongruous that God would allow something like this to happen to Christians who’d done so much for Him and even turned to Him in prayer at the time of the accident. As I read about the family processing their grief, one thing stuck out to me – the confusion, and this verse came to mind: “God is not the author of confusion” (1 Corinthians 14:33). It wasn’t God’s heart that wrote this into their story.

Later I was in church, and a situation came up that I just felt so annoyed about. “How can that be fair?” was my question to God, and He did the unexpected. He reminded me of Jesus dying on the cross. If anyone had the right to say it’s not fair, surely it was Jesus, but what kept Him going? The joy that was set before Him. He knew all about eternity and the kingdom that would spread out in front of Him – the kingdom where fairness and justice will finally reign supreme.

Sometimes life in this world isn’t fair, but I hope you find comfort in this verse, as I have:

“Then a kingdom of love will be set up, and someone from David’s family will rule with fairness. He will do what is right and quickly bring justice” (Isaiah 16:5).

The Blessing of Easter

I was inspired by this week’s Tuesday at Ten prompt: BLESSED.

Bereft, He prayed at Gethsemane – His soul overwhelmed with sorrow. “If it’s possible, take this from Me!” but the choice had already been made; He knew it would happen when the time came.

Lamb-like, He was led away – His friends deserting Him. From the house of the high priest, He looked straight at the one who denied all knowledge of Him.

Ethereal, He confessed to being the Son of Man who would sit at the right hand of God. Robes were torn and His death decreed.

Suffering, He was spat upon. Cruelly they blindfolded Him and asked who struck the blow. They bloodied His head with a crown of thorns.

Selfless, He thought of others in His darkest hours – telling the women to weep for themselves; entrusting His mother to John’s care; forgiving a common criminal.

Easter and the sun was rising. An angel rolled away the stone. There lay the tomb, open for all to see, but He was not there; He had risen!

Deliverer, He went to His disciples. Gave the oil of gladness instead of a spirit of despair. Suddenly they weren’t locked away in fear; there was hope and newness. “My Lord and my God!” one cried, as Jesus stood before His eyes, and the one who denied – he dived from the boat and swam to shore. He was completely known, and completely restored.

This Jesus – do you love Him? Then follow Him.

Broken to be Filled

We had an interesting illustration today.  2 jugs – 1 representing Adam, the other symbolising Jesus; and grapes, which represented us.

 

Someone put the grapes into the first jug to show that Adam’s sin/wrongdoing meant that when we were born, we were born into sin – born with that same corrupt nature.  Then Jesus came along and, yes, the grapes were poured out of jug 1 into jug 2.  When we become Christians, we’re born again and we’re in Jesus, but the pastor went on to say that not only are we in Jesus, the miracle is that He’s in us too.

 

Well, that got me thinking.  How could that happen?  What would need to happen to one of those grapes for a piece of that jug to get inside it?  It would need to split in half.  It couldn’t remain a whole grape.  That’s a bit like us isn’t it?  We need to die to our selfishness and the bad stuff inside us before Jesus can shine through.

 

And, by the way, a whole jug couldn’t fit inside that one tiny grape.  Could it?  Wouldn’t the jug need to be broken too?  Yes, Jesus needed to die before God the Father could send His Spirit to live in us and transform us.

 

So that’s one thing I came away from church with this morning:  Broken to be filled.

At the Counter

“God has rescued us from the power of darkness and has brought us into the kingdom of His Son, whom He loves. His Son paid the price to free us” – Colossians 1:13-14 (God’s Word Translation)

 

I like this translation of the Bible.  It was published in 1995 and I’ve only recently come across it.  Sometimes reading a more modern translation than I’m used to helps me take it in, and makes it feel fresher.  I enjoyed reading the chapter today, and especially these 2 verses.  I love how they explain the word ‘Redemption’:  “His Son paid the price to free us”.  Will you use your imagination for a minute?  Come and stand with me at the counter.

 

Jesus said everyone who sins is a slave to sin (John 8:34), so let’s think of our wrongdoing as a slave-master, who’s bought us as his slave and has power over us.  The only way we can get free is if somebody buys us back, but no one can break his power unless they’ve done nothing wrong.  There is only One who’s lived a perfect life and is able to break that power.  When Jesus rose from the dead, death had no power over Him, and because He was free, He could buy our freedom too.  It’s as if, when He came out of the tomb, Jesus was given vouchers with all our names on.  When someone puts their trust in Him, Jesus can go to the counter, hand their voucher to the slave-master and say:  “I’d like to redeem that person”, and the slave-master gives them to Jesus – the One who bought them on the cross.

 

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life” – Romans 6:23.  We deserve only death for the things we’ve done wrong, but Jesus offers us the opposite – totally undeserved, totally motivated by love.  Thanks to Jesus, death need have no power over us.  Aren’t you glad?

From the One Who’s Been There

There’s such a lot in Philippians 3!  I wrote down a couple of things I could have shared with you all, but this one resonated the most:

 

“I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death” – Philippians 3:10.  I wonder if that verse will ever stop being a challenge!  Oh, I want to know Christ, but what about this sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death?  Let’s think about Jesus’ death for a minute and the horrors He went through.  I don’t just mean the physical horrors – the beatings; having His hands forced behind His back and nailed to a cross …  There were mental anguishes too.  He took 3 close friends with Him into Gethsemane – His soul overwhelmed with sorrow.  He wanted Peter, James and John to pray with Him, but they fell asleep.  They didn’t understand the immensity of what their Lord was about to face; Jesus understood the full scale of it.  Do you have friends like that – friends you’re really close to, and you want their prayer-support in the important parts of your life, but they give up instead of praying along-with you?  That can be really painful, and then of course there was Judas betraying Jesus.

 

I wrote a song a few years ago about Jesus’ death and the sufferings He went through:

“You were despised; rejected by men,

“So when I face hostility, why should I complain?

 

“Left all alone in Your darkest hour,

“So when I have no company, why should I complain?”

 

The truth is, whether we want to or not, as Christians, we will share in Christ’s sufferings, but we can have the assurance that whatever we go through, He’s already been there.  He knows exactly how we feel.

 

Are you going through a difficult situation at the moment?  You don’t have to go into details, but if you leave a comment, I’d love to pray with you.  Thank you for reading, and please take comfort from the One who’s been there.