Posts Tagged: Resurrection

Redemption Butterflies

When I gaze too long at the hard shell of the grave,

I despair without your physical presence, and

when I rubberneck the collision of God and man on the cross,

I am overwhelmed by the required suffering sin must pay.

But, when I fix my eyes upon the reality of resurrection,

your authority surges through my veins!

I  testify, the cracked grave and crude cross are

the transforming chrysalis, where redemption butterflies emerge!

Laughing our way to the Cross: Practing Lightheartedness

I take things so seriously and I have been that way from the womb. Cultivating a light heartedness, no matter our personality, is a part of character development. How is that even possible for one as serious and sometimes awkward as me? Well how did Jesus do it?

He partied!

He ate meals with his friends!

He spent time with children!

He was disciplined!

That last one seems out-of-place in our wild life of the party mentality. Disciplined people can be fun to be around? Yes, because discipline lightens our load and makes us more effective in our celebration. Amazing how much more creative I am with a clean desk. Jesus was disciplined without attempting to control the outcome. He retired to a quiet place to spend time with his heavenly father, but if the crowd searched him out, he ministered to them. There is a difference between control and discipline. Control says, I must have things a certain way to function, but discipline stretches, strengthens, and prepares for us to receive our day.

As I am becoming more disciplined in exercise I am better able to be a blessing to my family. Consider the wise words of Elle Woods,”Endorphins make you happy, happy people don’t just go around killing their husbands.” (Reese Witherspoon, Legally Blond) I took her advice. Sunday I was extremely agitated, but after spending forty minutes on the bike trail calmness reigned in my out of control thinking.

Start small 5 minutes. Start with 5 minutes of outdoor time. Love gardening, spend 5 minutes daily weeding your bed. All kinds of biblical lessons there!

Spend time with children. My church has a stain glass window of Jesus on his throne, welcoming little children into his lap. It is easy to see how much pleasure Jesus took in them. My kids wrote me a birthday puppet show last night. They even broke out in song. Love it!

Creation itself throws one big God party! Are we too serious to pause, laugh and celebrate? Life bursts forth with streamers and noise makers every morning I wake up. I am not going to be outdone by the colorful pansies in my garden, or the robin singing his praises outside my office window. My art class surprised me with a cake and sang happy birthday to me yesterday. A gift arrived under my Jonathan tree. Delightful!

How much I value fellowship with you! Even though my “letters” for many of you, come a considerable distance, I still feel a bond with you as we share life together. Some of you I get to break bread with in person. I learn so much, and take pleasure in watching God in your lives. So, throw your streamers! Don’t become so bogged down by the brokeness that we forget that the cross wasn’t the end of the story. Resurrection was God’s invitation, and ALL of us are on the guest list. That is worth celebrating!

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.

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