Again

“For I  passed on to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to [that which] the Scriptures [foretold], and that He was buried, and that He was [bodily] raised on the third day according to [that which] the Scriptures [foretold], and that He appeared to Cephas (Peter), then to the Twelve” (1 Corinthians 15:-3-5, AMP).

“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.  And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15, NIV, emphasis added).

Jesus rose again. He rose again. I serve a risen Savior. He conquered death, hell, and the grave. He rose again and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He ever lives to make intercession for us. And one day soon He will come again.

Jesus rose again. I always need to remember this truth and live it but my need seems greater this week. In El Paso, TX on 8/3, forty-six people shot and 22 of the 46 died. In Dayton, OH, on 8/4, 37 shot and 10 killed. Mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers and friends and co-workers. All made in the image of God.//The evil of racism and bigotry unleashed terror and death in El Paso, TX. And the impact spread beyond that city and will continue to be felt.  So what do we do? “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.  And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15, NIV). In response to these specific mass shootings, what does it look like to no longer live for ourselves but for Him who died and was raised again? I believe “it” will involve being and doing.

I am joining the Five Minute Friday writing community, hosted by Kate Motaung, for our weekly writing adventure (on a Saturday). Please click here to learn about Five Minute Friday. This week’s prompt is, “Again.” The content behind the // was added after 5 minutes were completed.

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Saturdays

For Jesus’ disciples, what we now call Good Friday was a horrible, awful day, and the Saturday after, which can be considered the “in-between” day, was not any better. On that day, they woke up to the reality that Jesus was dead. You know how it is… something terrible happens one day, you go to bed, and in the few seconds just after you wake up the following day, all may seem well again … just like a regular day. You may even stretch, then the reality of the loss or whatever made the previous day very difficult, even traumatic, hits you again and you feel the wrenching pain, the loss, the despair as if you are experiencing the loss for the first time.

Good Friday was the worst day of the lives of His disciples and all who loved Jesus, and Saturday must not have been much better.

For us on this side of the Cross, Saturday, the “in-between” day, between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday, is different. It is filled with anticipation because we know what they did not know on their “in between” Saturday … We know Sunday, Resurrection Day came! HE AROSE! Yes! Yes! Yes! We anticipate attending church, the anthems of worship and exultation, hearing the Word read once more, celebrating His resurrection with family and/or friends. But, like them, we all have our “Saturdays,” those “in-between” days or seasons when the only thing that looms, dominates our thoughts, is the “Friday,” that is, the loss, the heartbreak, the betrayal, the rejection, whatever devastated us. On our “Saturdays,” we do not know what will happen. We can be unsure if we will survive what we experienced.

On our personal “Saturdays,” it is essential that we remember, it is an “in-between” day or season. Sunday is coming. It always comes for the child of God. Death, whether it is of a person, a dream, a relationship, is never designed by our Father to be our final dwelling place. We really can still say, even with the snot running from our noses, our eyes red from weeping with tears still flowing, through the hiccups and exhaustion, “Sunday is coming. Sunday is coming.”

At first we may only be able to whisper this truth but we need to hear ourselves say it. Even if there is some doubt. We are not being delusional when we do so because our Father has promised “Saturday” is not all there is and will be. Say it as much as you need to until the truth changes your perspective and, if necessary, restores your hope, strengthens your faith. Sunday is coming! As it was for Jesus, there is a resurrection day in store for you.

Note: The original version of this post was first published in 2011.

“… and Peter.” (And me).

_What do you say about yourself.. (1).png

A drowning person’s life flashes before his or her eyes.
Or so I have been told.
And if there is truth in this statement,
I wonder if Peter’s life with Jesus flashed before his eyes
as he drowned in an ocean of shame, horror, pain, and disbelief
after doing what he had sworn he never would,
that is, abandon Jesus, the One he had left all to follow.

I wonder if he saw the moment when Jesus called to him and his brother Andrew
as they were casting a net into the Sea of Galilee, and said,
“Come follow me and I will send you to fish for people”?
And when He touched the hand of Peter’s mother-in-law as she was lying in bed with a fever, and the fever left her?

I wonder if Peter remembered vividly the moment his feet touched the water after he asked, “Lord, if it is you, tell me to come to you on the water,” and Jesus responded, “Come”?
And when he responded to Jesus’ question, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” with the revelation given to him by the Father, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus changed his name from Simon to Peter.

I wonder if he saw the thousands being fed with a little boy’s lunch, and Lazarus coming out of the tomb after he had been dead four days, and Jesus’ transfiguration on the mount?

I do not know but the One Who knew Peter would deny Him, not once but thrice in a short space of time, and loved him still, He made sure that Peter knew that there was forgiveness, and redemption, and restoration for Peter.

First, He sent the message of His resurrection through the angel, “But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”
“… tell his disciples and Peter.”
“ … and Peter.”

Later, He would pose a question to him three times, “Do you love Me?”
And by the end of the conversation had commissioned him and, as He had done in their first encounter by the Sea of Galilee, called him to follow Him.

Like Peter, I have been guilty of denying Him,
Sometimes with my words.
At other times with my silence, behavior and choices.
Like Peter, I have been guilty of denying Him.
Perhaps you are too.
Thanks be to God, we can all be certain that,
no matter what we have done,
the same forgiveness,
redemption,
and restoration that Peter was given,
is also available to us.

NB: This post was originally published on this blog on 4/17/17

Monday Vitamins: Living the Resurrection – Part 2

“The Gospel is centred in God’s Son, a descendant of David by human genealogy and patently marked out as the Son of God by the power of that Spirit of holiness which raised him to life again from the dead” (Romans 1:3-4, PHILLIPS).

“For the love of Christ controls and compels us, because we have concluded this, that One died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that all those who live would no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and was raised for their sake” 2 Corinthians 5:14-15, AMP).

Prayer: Father, may the love of Christ control and compel us, so that our lifestyles reflect the fact that we no longer live for ourselves but for Him who died and was raised for our sake. In Jesus name.

Monday Vitamins: Living the Resurrection

Gal 2 v 20

Five Minute Friday: Morning

WP_20160205_18_15_28_Pro 1Joining Kate Motaung and other members of the caring and encouraging Five Minute Friday community (on a Sunday) for our weekly writing opportunity. This week’s prompt is “Morning.”

Speaking of the morning when Jesus rose from the dead, songwriter, Jim Croegaert, poses a question in the verses of his song, “Was it a morning like this?”

Was it a morning like this
When the Son still hid from Jerusalem
And Mary rose from her bed
To tend the Lord she thought was dead

This songs constantly fills me with joy whenever I hear it. But today, although the joy is present, I am also struck with the awareness of how miraculous things occur in the mist of the ordinary.

On the night that Jesus was born, shepherds were doing what they always did at night while caring for sheep. Innkeepers were likely doing what they always did after seeing to their guests. So it was on the morning He rose from the dead with all power in His hand. It was most likely a morning like many other mornings in Jerusalem. But it was also a morning like no other.

And so it is with our lives, His sacred presence can enter into an ordinary day full of mundane things and transform it into a day we will never forget. He comes into the ordinary and makes it glorious.