He is not Here . . . He is Risen!

Vol. 3 No. 13 – 4-1-2018

He is not here; He is risen! –Luke 24:6

One of the great miracles in all of history affected a Gallic slave girl, Blandia, in the year 177 A.D. She was set to face torture and death unless she would repudiate her living Lord, Jesus Christ.

Angry church leaders murdered friends before her eyes; they heated her on a grid-iron. They threw her to wild beasts.

They finally impaled her on a stake! Religious leaders indeed!

Blandia firmly believed in the world’s greatest miracle; the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. She was “dead-set” in holding onto the most stupendous events ever to occur in our world.

Scripture tells us that one Friday afternoon, about 3:00 p.m., over 2000 years ago, Jesus of Nazareth died on a Roman cross of torture, for death, and public display, and was buried before sunset. Historical records and the Scriptures prove that He left the tomb outside of Jerusalem on Sunday morning.

As I thought about this, there was a line of borrowing for Jesus. The Father sent Him to earth to be born of a virgin borrowed, He was born in a borrowed cave/stable, He was placed in a borrowed manger, and He was placed in a borrowed tomb at His death – but not for long. After three days He arose to live forever more, praise God!

We call this season Easter; in Old English it means “Springtime.”

Easter is the springtime both of nature and redemption. Some do not like the term, Easter; however, does mark the new beginning of life in old creation and the bright morning of our Christianity; when people are brought to light out of their darkness. Sadly, there are those even in the church that have never moved from their darkness to the light. The sit on their rusty dusties in the dark of the church searching for something, not knowing it is the LIGHT their souls are hungering for.

Three followers of Jesus look at the empty tomb on that Spring morning, and each sees the scene in their own way. Mary is first. One quick peek is enough. Too startled or emotionally upset, she does not give further evaluation.

John came running and glanced into the tomb. Peter comes running at the news the tomb is empty. Can you picture him; short, chunky, and hampered with a slow pace. The fisherman gives a rather critical examination, seeing stuff or the lack thereof, and comes up with a theory. Critical seeing is not always a “believing-seeing.” Praise God it changes.

The beloved John, that third member of the trio (Mary, Peter, and John) came into the empty tomb, venturing into the tomb (that seems bizarre, given what most people think of tombs). John comes away with an effective change. He came away having seen with his eyes, and the truth of what he saw moves deep into his heart; nothing would ever be the same. The seeing was full of comprehension and understanding.

For 20 centuries, Christians have been declaring that the Easter event is the literal bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave. Christians lived and died believing that they, too, will someday be brought back from death in a real body.

This faith changed lives like Blandina. It changes lives today. It has changed my life completely. This faith made heroes in the past, and makes heroes for Christ today.

Millions of believers throughout history have chosen to die as martyrs rather than deny their faith. Read some of the history of believers in Foxes Book of Martyrs.

Where do you stand – is your stand sure-footed on the awesome miracle of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior?

Seen on an insurance agency sign in our small town:

What do you mean I have to go to church this Sunday?

We were just there on Christmas!

Wonder what it would have been like . . .

Vol.2 No. 52a 12-25-2017

  • Wonder what it would have been like to be present at the
    birth of Christ in Bethlehem?
  • To see Him in a lowly manger
  • To find the conditions that prevailed
  • To see if it looked like the Christmas cards we receive
    or, if the pictures in our story books have validity
  • To see the expressions on the faces of Mary and Joseph
  • To hear the first words of how this birth would change
    the history of the world
  • To hear about the gift of God for all humankind
  • To hear what people understood about the birth of Jesus
  • To observe the normal people surrounding the birth
  • To see Mary’s confidence of what God was providing through the birth of His Son
  • To grasp the wickedness of Herod as the child grew
  • To observe the Magi who later came to worship the newborn King
  • To have seen the tail end of the awesome guiding star
  • To hear the distant angels sing
  • To hear the excitement of the shepherds
  • What were the thoughts of these people really like?

When the Magi finally arrived, they brought gold, frankincense, and myrrh. They bowed in worship. Their gifts were fitting for the events to come. Gold for the family needs as they were to go into Egypt. Frankincense and myrrh for the burial spices needed following Christ’s crucifixion—Jesus was born to die for the salvation of those who would come to Him.

The Magi, following their visit, had been instructed to return to Herod. Herod wanted to kill the Christ child. That is the way of political elites who are distrustful of people taking their positions. However, the Magi, perhaps arriving from the school of Daniel in Babylon (not exactly the orient), knew to avoid returning to Herod. They were instructed through a dream/vision to return on another path.

But then, it is the expectation of God that one who comes to Him changes direction; changes their path of life.

We live in a time when people attend church for the cultural norm, not to really worship. It is about them, not Christ. It is about the holiday (Happy Holidays! — not Merry Christmas!). Worship is only considered if it does not disrupt the holiday plans of families. Wow! Political correctness has led people down the wrong path, to stay on the same road. Not be a part of a forever change.

Believers have to be intentional about their worship—plan the important times for their families. What do we teach our families when we cannot take time for worship due to Christmas eve or Christmas falling on the weekend, or on the Monday following Sunday, Christmas eve? Some churches rearrange their schedules to accommodate “family time.” But they open their doors a week later to make sure the church is open for the many who have spent their New Year’s Eve drinking and making merry. What a contrast we witness in today’s church!

• Churches send notices to their members to “catch up on their giving” – wonder how the early believers got their notices
• Churches redecorate their churches to “catch” the younger crowd or the unchurched. They put bright flashing lights up and paint the “stage” dark, even black. Strange churches would do this if their goal was to draw unbelievers to the light; that is what the Scriptures intend – to draw people to the light
• Churches replace worship to the glorious God with theatre to make unbelievers comfortable, to have a venue like the concerts the young people attend, cranking up the sound/volume so it will be just like the places the millennials and unchurched attend, and then to provide musicians and vocalists that call attention to themselves
• Wonder what rock group played at the birth of Jesus
• Strange what we call worship today, we have made worship about ourselves instead of toward Almighty God

The baby in the manger came as a conquering King to dethrone us and then to enthrone Himself in our hearts and lives forever and ever.

You Need To Think – Philippians 4:8

Vol. 2 No. 52 – 12-24-2017

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things. Philippians 4:8

It is Christmas, what are you thinking about? Believer. Preacher. Leader. Executive. Worker. Mentor. Father. Mother.

The psychologists indicate that we are not what we think we are; we are what we think. The Bible indicates this statement has a great deal of truth. It is true that if a person thinks something often enough, they will come to the stage that they cannot stop thinking about it. This is true of the distractions of life—alcohol and other drugs, pornography, crime, illicit relationships, and on and on. People caught up in wrong thinking need a renewed mind, only available in Christ.

The battle for the mind is heavy in our culture. Advertising, print, music, education, social media, TV, radio, and even cell phones occupy the minds of people. Each day we are bombarded with approximately 2000 impressions to our mind. Solomon, who did not have all our electronics said, “For as he thinks within himself, so he is” (Proverbs 7:23).

Paul writes of our safety net for believers and servant-leaders.

  • Whatever things are true; not the deceptive and illusory that let a person down; reality and absolute truth is the important thing. Does that ring true for you?
  • Whatever things are honest; not that which is flippant and cheap. Focus on that which is valuable and esteemed. Does it have honest value?
  • Whatever things are just; not setting our minds on pleasures, comforts, and the easy self-advancement. Focus on things that are right and just; pay your dues to others and God fully. Ask yourself if what you are about to enter is tainted or shady.
  • Whatever things are pure; not soiled, smutty, or shabby. Look for the stainless and chaste. What is the contamination offered in the choices you make or wear?
  • Whatever things are lovely; not bitter, critical, nor full of vengeance. Focus on the gracious and winsome. Do your thoughts produce kindness, forbearance, and right relationships? Or, do they bring strife and division?
  • Whatever things are of good repute (report); things that are fit before God and others to hear. Think twice and say nothing is a Chinese proverb.
  • The Bible says to think right and then say something that reflects the above qualities. Did you notice that each quality reflects one of the characters of Christ?.

Christmas attracts us to gatherings with many others. Thinking always ensues.

What are things that people count as excellent? What are things that people feel are praise worthy? Think on these things.

The objects on which a man allows his mind habitually to dwell upon determines his acts, his career, and his destiny. –C.R. Erdman

From the heart comes everything you think, say, and do (and it is you that will place the “stuff” in your heart that resides there). The only hope we have for a renewed mind is to come to Christ and let His truth richly dwell in the heart, the place that controls our thinking, speaking, and our doing.

Finally: The things you think toward others says more about your character than theirs. Think about that.

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