Posts Categorized: easter

Standing Between the Grave and Resurrection

John 20:11But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. 12And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. 13They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.”

Death =  How serious God takes sin.

Resurrection = How serious God takes forgiveness.

 

I stand between the tomb and the resurrection. It is so hard for me to not stare into the darkness of the grave expecting to see the mangled body of my son. It is harder for me to look into heaven and see the resurrection power of the Son of God in the life of my son. Our pastor reminded us this morning that the men and women who ran to the empty tomb did not have the full context of what was happening, like we do.

Even with the full implication of the open tomb-death where is your sting -I am like the women headed to the grave to anoint the body. The followers believed that their hopes and dreams were buried with the miracle-working rabbi. No matter how much I have seen of God’s faithfulness, no matter that I myself was dead in my sins and made alive by the love of Christ, the resurrection power is not yet fully at work in me. I don’t believe that resurrection can happen in my circumstances. Heaven is distant and the grave is up close and way too concrete for me to embrace the freedom and power God’s perspective has for me. I am still morning who I thought Jesus was to embrace him right now even though I know he is calling me by name.

Father, you are patient with me. I feel the soil of grief more than the seeds of your presence with me. What is it that you are teaching me about heaven? Open my eyes that I may recognize you, my gardener and savior when you are standing right in front of me! Help me to embrace the resurrection of Jesus so that the fullness of your forgiveness can be revealed in me. Amen.

 

15Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic,b “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). 17Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.

Turning the Page on Saturday: Embracing the Resurrection power of Sunday

“It is Only for the Weekend” was the sermon title at my in-laws church. God, who is not limited, doesn’t even operate in the limits of time, takes our circumstances whether good or bad and declares that they are temporary. Even death is now an unpredictable outcome for those who believe.

On our drive home Brian and I agreed that the heartache of missing Jonathan sure didn’t feel like only a weekend. “Feels like we are stuck on Saturday.” Brian said. Maybe your circumstances are like ours and you feel stuck in pain, your job, your life, your loss. The resurrection hasn’t happened or become an active part of our thinking, living, and dying. We are confused and reeling from plans not of our own making. We want to hide away, cry out, shake our fist at a God for allowing such agony into our lives. We would not map out the same path.

This is exactly how the disciples behaved after the crucifixion, the Romans guarded the tomb just in case the disciples tried to steal the body. They needn’t worry–the disciples were stuck on Saturday. When they started getting reports that Jesus was alive, most of the 12 did not go running to the tomb to confirm that it was empty and that Christ was indeed resurrected. They were in disbelief, and that was where they were likely going to stay if Jesus himself hadn’t walked through the door. I mean that literally, he waked through the closed and locked door.

Does Jesus have to walk through the closed and locked door of my heart for me to accept that his plan for my future is a good one? Or do I declare with my hands open to the heavens “BUT, SUNDAY!” The resurrection isn’t just an event that happened in history, it happens today when believers see the risen Christ in their lives and are transformed.

Lord, open my mind, heart, and soul to Sunday and help me to Turn the Page on Saturday! Amen.

Invited into the Garden of Trust: Jesus Trusted His Heavenly Father Completely

Matthew: 26: 36Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” 37And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watchd with me.” 39And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”

I’ve been invited into the garden. Not for a girly tea party, nice as those are, but invited to drink a cup of my Father’s will. Two years ago, the Holy Spirit began leading me to the garden, I thought it was teach me forgiveness, but now in the midst of grief, confusion, and a loss I physically cannot bear I finally understand. God was inviting me to trust him completely.

What does it mean to trust God completely?

  • Putting God’s will first (vs. 36)
  • Obedience ( vs. 39,42)
  • Seeing that God is sovereign in ALL circumstances (vs. 39, 42)
  • Allowing the Holy Spirit to lead me (vs. 41)
  •  Acknowledging my will as well as his (vs. 39)

Jesus was in the habit (discipline) of praying in the garden! (Luke 22:39), How many of us, when facing the most difficult trial stick to our routine of talking to God? He went to the garden not out of sudden desperation, but out of steady consistency.  His prayer was raw, real, and vulnerable. He gave insight into his state of mind, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” Sometimes our will verses God’s will takes us to the brink of death. Our flesh wants its way! This isn’t some lightweight battle, the enemy of our soul knows exactly what he is doing! It is okay to ask the heavenly father for our will to be done, even while we submit to His will completely. The Holy Spirit ministers to us in our weakness. through prayer, keeping watch, discipline, even with those we long to support us fall away in their own weakness.

From Psalm 37 I learn these building blocks of God’s will:

  • Trust
  • Delight
  • Commit
  • Be Still
  • Wait patiently
  • Refrain
  • Turn
  • Hope
  • Consider

As I practice these 9 steps I will find that forgiveness happens out of my God given new spirit, and as I am in the garden, I will be able to trust in everything that I have learned about my heavenly father. Then I will be able to drink the cup of his will completely.

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