The Resurrection!

“I was dead, but look, I am alive forever and ever” ~Jesus

         Without doubt, the most important event on the calendar for followers of Christ, is what is known as Easter or Resurrection Sunday. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the single most important moment in the history of the world. Three days prior to His resurrection, He had completed the most agonizing part of his triumphant purpose by willingly giving his life to pain and death, crumpled on Calvary’s cross. However, that was only the beginning, not the end.

         After three days in the tomb, Jesus rose, shed His death clothes and spent 40 days giving final instructions to His disciples. And because of that, we too have the promise of eternal life just as He gave to the thief on the cross beside him, “I assure you: Today you will be with Me in paradise.”  Luke 23:43

         The resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ is the focal point of our hope as found in the following Scriptures:

         1 Corinthians 15:13-14, 19 “But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is futile and your faith is empty—For if only in this life we have hope in Christ, we should be pitied more than anyone.”

         Acts 2:24, 32 “God raised Him up, ending the pains of death, because it was not possible for Him to be held by it—God has resurrected this Jesus. We are all witnesses of this.”

         Matthew 28:1-10 “Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary (the mother of James and Joseph and the mother of the sons of Zebedee) went out to visit the tomb. Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it. His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint.

         “Then the angel spoke to the women, “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. And now, go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and he is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there. Remember what I have told you.”

         Luke 24:46-48 He also said to them: “This is what is written: the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead the third day, and repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.”

         1 Corinthians 15:1-8  “Let me now remind you, dear brothers and sisters, of the Good News I preached to you before. You welcomed it then, and you still stand firm in it. It is this Good News that saves you if you continue to believe the message I told you—unless, of course, you believed something that was never true in the first place. I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then he was seen by James and later by all the apostles. Last of all, as though I had been born at the wrong time, I also saw him.”

         Acts 4:33  “And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus—”

         Acts 26:22-23  “I teach nothing except what the Prophets and Moses said—that the Messiah would suffer and be the First to rise from the dead, to bring light to Jews and Gentiles alike.”

         Romans 10:9-10  If you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

         There are many scriptures which relate the risen Lord being seen as a living testimony of His resurrection. His absolute victory over death and its decay gives all the  believers in Jesus Christ an unwavering hope of everlasting life with Him. Although we shall die, unless Jesus returns with the trumpet blast and angelic shout first, we shall not perish but taste life that never ends, residing in the New Jerusalem with Almighty God and the resurrected Son.

Obey The Government!

Obey the Government

March 27, 2021

“For God is the One who put it there” ~Romans 13:1

Phil, the church’s accountant, was stunned out of a sound sleep by the shrill ringing of his phone. Clearing the fog of sleep he answered and learned, to his consternation, that five of his congregants were in jail and needed him to post bond. The same frustrating five who willingly put themselves in opposition to the government, whether local or federal. As they saw it, the government is corrupt and needs someone to challenge it and they were those someones! But from Phil’s perspective, all these Christians did was stir the proverbial pot, bringing pain and problems, as well as wasting the churches money without any positive change. This morning, he took his time getting dressed.

An hour later, as they left the jail, Phil said, “I’ve got to say my piece here. When are you people going to stop causing all this trouble? You’re giving the church a bad name, not to mention Christians in general. Oh and people’s offerings too. Have you ever thought of that? Do you think the rest of us give tithe and offerings with the expectation of paying your bail?”

“Listen Phil, someone has to stand up for what’s right in our government. We can’t allow these corrupt people to just have their way, overtaxing us, forcing us to follow biased and wrong-spirited laws. We have to force the government to do what’s right!”

“Right according to who? You bunch? If you’re really concerned for the general welfare of your fellow citizens, run for office and really make a difference instead of acting like irresponsible teenagers; not to mention violating the Bible. Have you considered that?”

“What are you talking about, Phil. The last thing we would do is to violate God’s Word. God expects us to defend the downtrodden and those who cannot stand up for themselves.”

“Are you serious? What downtrodden are you helping? As for violating God’s Word, read the 13th chapter of Romans and see how you line up.”

“Well, what about in the Book of Acts when Peter and some others were arrested and they said they had to obey God rather than men.”

“Actually,” Phil replied, “ that happened because the apostles were preaching Jesus as well as performing miracles in His name. They were arrested but an angel of the Lord came at night, opened the gates, brought them out and told them to “Go to the Temple and give the people this message of life.” and then they were re-arrested and that is when Peter said, “We must obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29)

By this time they had arrived at the church. “I want you to come inside and we’ll have some coffee and share a little more about God establishing governments and kingdoms,” Phil said.

By now everyone was looking forward to what they might learn from the Lord. “Let’s look at Daniel 2:21, “World events are under [God’s] control. He removes kings and sets others on their thrones. He gives wise men their wisdom and scholars their intelligence.” We must remember that God is all powerful and very involved in world events. He is the creator and has a plan for His creations.”

“Now, let’s look at Romans 13:1, “Obey the government, for God is the one who has put it there. There is no government anywhere that God has not placed in power.” During the Lord’s last three years on earth, did he ever say to his disciples that we must form groups and set about to overthrow this corrupt, evil government? Did Jesus confront any person of authority and demand better civil rights for everyone? Did he confront the Romans who were arresting, torturing, and killing His followers with demands they be released? Just the opposite.

One day Jesus called his disciples together and said, “Among the heathen, kings are tyrants and each minor official lords it over those beneath him. But among you it is quite different. Anyone wanting to be a leader among you must be your servant. And if you want to be right at the top, you must serve like a slave. Your attitude must be like My own, for I, the Messiah, did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give my life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:25-28

“So,” Phil began, “what should we do about injustice and social wrongs? Since we have the Holy Spirit to guide us, we should always begin with the advice dispensed by the Book of James 1:5-8 “If you want to know what God wants you to do, ask him, and He will gladly tell you, for He is always ready to give a bountiful supply of wisdom to all who ask Him; He will not resent it. But when you ask Him, be sure that you really expect Him to tell you for a doubtful mind will be as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind; and every decision you then make will be uncertain, as you turn first this way, and then that. If you don’t ask with faith, don’t expect the Lord to give you any solid answer.”

Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will disappear, but My Words remain forever.” Matthew 24:35

Since this is true, shouldn’t our focus be on spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

Our Position in Christ

May 9, 2020

“My sheep listen to My voice—no one can snatch them out of My hand.” John 10:28 

On occasion, there may be events in our lives that lead us to believe we have been shunned or ostracized by a person or from a group. If that happens, it is painful and confusing. It may be that we caused the action or it may not. Sometimes it is the result of cross words or misunderstandings. However, if our position with the person or group has changed and we’re no longer welcome, hurt and insecurity gain momentum. What is wrong with me, we wonder. 

Fortunately for all followers of Christ, we will never be ostracized from the true Church, which is the Body of Christ. Our position is permanent, eternal and secure. Jesus paid the ultimate price for our membership and standing. No matter how difficult life becomes, Christ remains our intercessor, pleading with the Father on our behalf. 

1 Peter 1:3-5   ”All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation,  and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay.  And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.” 

1 Corinthians 12:12-13  “The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.”

John 6:39-40  “And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them up at the last day. For it is my Father’s will that all who see his Son and believe in him should have eternal life. I will raise them up at the last day.” 

Romans 8:38  And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.” 

Cindy sat dejected on the bed as Paul packed his suitcase and grabbed arms full of clothes from his closet. He was leaving. He “needed his space to really embrace life to the fullest” he gave as his reason for wanting a divorce.

Four lives changed forever; Cindy, Paul and their two children.

“Paul you promised in our wedding vows to stick it out through sickness and health, richer or poorer,” she reminded him.

As he snapped the suitcase locks and grabbed his overnight bag Paul replied, “I know but things have changed, Cindy. We’re different people now!”

Unlike this scenario which happens far too often, God never changes His mind and will always keep us close to His heart.

Hebrews 13:5  God has said, “I will never leave you; I will never abandon you.”

I Hope I Make It

 “The twelve gates were twelve pearls” ~Revelation 21:21

Two friends were talking over lunch when one said, “I just hope I make it through those Pearly Gates!”

“What do you mean?” said his friend.

“Just what I said. I mean I give a tithe in church, well, most of the time. I drive a food truck for meals on wheels. I help my older neighbor keep up his landscaping and I help support a few missionaries through our church. I’m sure that must count to my credit on that final day.”

“I am sure that God delights in your sacrificial giving, Charlie. And those who receive the fruit of your labors are certainly blessed. But what has that got to do with the Pearly Gates of the New Jerusalem?”

“Well, I don’t want to be turned away on that final day. I couldn’t think of anything worse, Bill.”

“So, you think that God keeps a tally for every person who’s ever lived and if their works don’t measure up, they might be turned away at the Pearly Gates?”

Charlie blushed at Bill’s description and felt confused when he heard it described in this way. “I’ve got to admit that when I hear your description, I’m not sure but I am concerned about not getting in. I mean a guy can only do so much and I’m sure God’s requirements are pretty high.”

“The amount of good deeds you and your family accomplish is phenomenal, Charlie, but that has nothing to do with gaining entrance through the Pearly Gates.”

What are you talking about. I’ve heard that said most of my life. How could I be wrong?”

“Let’s back up a bit. First off, how do we know we’re going to spend eternity with God?”

“By believing in Christ as our Savior!”

“Exactly. If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9-10). And then, a few verses later it says, “For everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13)

“I get that, of course but we still have to do good works,” said Charlie

“Good works should be a natural outcropping of your new life in Christ, Charlie, not an obligation that assures you of your salvation. Our salvation which brings total forgiveness of sins was given to us freely, not based on our good reputation.”

“Look at Ephesians 2:8-10, “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

“There it is, man. We have to do the good things he planned long ago. Clearly if we don’t, no pearly gate entrance,” said Charlie.

“Really? So you think Jesus suffered horribly and died on that cross so we could all get busy and work out heads off to prove how much we love Him, sort of earning our salvation? Charlie, I understand how easy it is to get confused and think we must do works to keep our salvation and on that final day present ourselves at a pearly gate, hoping we did enough to get inside. But it isn’t true. Think about the thief on the cross (Luke 23:42-43). He said, Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” And the Lord said, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.” He did not say, I’d like to bring you into paradise but you’ve only done bad works and now it’s too late.”

“What about the woman caught in adultery? After her accusers left in shame, “Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”

“No, Lord,” she said.

And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” ~John 8:10-11

“Charlie, there is no moment of truth where we are presented to an angel or Peter, as some of the stories indicate, at one of the pearly gates, asking if we qualify to enter. That is a myth which brings fear and confusion. So who do you think made it up? Obviously not God. Our eternal destination is settled once, for all time, when we accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and receive forgiveness of all sins!

“Well, what about the pearly gate. I know it is mentioned in the Bible.”

“Indeed. Chapter 21 of Revelation describes The New Jerusalem as “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven. Its walls will be 216 feet thick and its length and width and height will be 1,400 miles!

“There will be twelve gates made of pearls— each gate from a single pearl! Its gates will never be closed…Nothing evil will be allowed to enter…but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life!”

Since we believe the blood of the Lamb was shed to save our souls, our names are inscribed in that special Book.”

Ephesians 2:8-9 ~For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Are You Holy?

It was impossible to  miss the oversized white tent in the early Spring evening with a gigantic white banner rippling in the breeze, BE HOLY BECAUSE I AM HOLY!

Adjacent to the Mid-State fairgrounds, the grassy parking lot was covered with cars as the curious and hopeful seemed to throng to this unusual meeting. Many were drawn by the harmonious music and singing as the choir led several hundred seekers with powerful, moving hymns. Emotions ran high. The air was filled with earnest expectation. Something special was happening here they felt.

The music came to an end as the tall, redheaded pastor took the pulpit. He was carrying a leather-bound bible in one hand, holding it casually like a carpenter’s tool. He did not speak. The crowd grew silent. He came to the pulpit, set his bible down and gripped both sides. Leaning forward the silence was broken with his powerful voice, “Are you holy?” He shocked them all. Gasps were heard throughout the tent. Again he said, “Are you holy? God says we must be holy to please Him. So I ask it again, are you holy. Have you been sanctified?” And so it went for the next 45 minutes as this charismatic speaker whipped his listeners into an emotional state, feeling certain they were not up to par with God unless they came forward to become sanctified and holy.

The emotional and dramatic pastor should rather have spent his time elevating the Lord Jesus Christ, explaining to the people that faith in Christ makes us holy in God’s eyes: “God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made Him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; He made us pure and holy, and He freed us from sin. Therefore, as the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the LORD.”  (1 Corinthians 1:30-31)


Let’s see what God’s Word has to say about our sanctification/holiness:
1 Corinthians 1:2 ~You who have been called by God to be his own holy people. He made you holy by means of Christ Jesus, just as he did all Christians everywhere.

1 Corinthians ~6:11 Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

1 Thessalonians ~5:23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Along with the unimaginable grace and mercy of God’s provision for our sanctification, He expects us to do our part; to work our faith in day to day circumstances. He has already done the impossible and has assigned us the possible such as making choices and slipping on His armor. We’re at war!

2 Corinthians 7:1 ~Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God.

2 Thessalonians 2:13 ~As for us, we can’t help but thank God for you, dear brothers and sisters loved by the Lord. We are always thankful that God chose you to be among the first to experience salvation—a salvation that came through the Spirit who makes you holy and through your belief in the truth.

Hebrews 10:10 ~For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time.

Romans 15:16 ~I am a special messenger from Christ Jesus to you Gentiles. I bring you the Good News so that I might present you as an acceptable offering to God, made holy by the Holy Spirit.

Sanctification is not something we can beg God for at a church altar. Sanctification is a gift from God as a result of our faith in Jesus Christ. Although a gift, God requires our involvement to make choices for purity and holiness. Even so, the Holy Spirit enables us to follow through on our Christ-like decisions.

Ephesians, Part 6



“I rejoice in your Word like one who discovers a great treasure” Psalms

Ephesians Chapter 1

6-8 Now all praise to God for his wonderful kindness to us and his favor that he has poured out upon us because we belong to his dearly loved Son. So overflowing is his kindness toward us that he took away all our sins through the blood of his Son, by whom we are saved; and he has showered down upon us the richness of his grace—for how well he understands us and knows what is best for us at all times. TLB

Do we continually wash ourselves in the Word of God? Do we take time each day to relish our eternal standing in Christ, our complete forgiveness of sins?

Two Christian men in a meeting to discuss the upcoming events in their church:

“Well, let’s begin with prayer.”

“Sure, but keep it brief. I have two more meetings after this one.”

“Don’t worry, my schedule is hectic as well.”

You may be thinking, what’s your point? These men are obviously very busy and know that God hears them at all times so why not get on with their meeting? Take a second and consider Psalm 119:162 above, If one of these men had just discovered a great treasure in his attic or received a notice of a large inheritance, do you think he might find time to share his joy and great fortune with his friend? Would his demeanor be glowing with excitement as he continually thought of what lay ahead? Of course.

And yet, we have discovered the greatest treasure of all. One that will never tarnish, rust or lose its value. Our treasure came wrapped in swaddling clothes, walked upon the earth healing disease and telling the future. And then our treasure willingly died for us, took on Himself the punishment for our sins. But next came His most stunning example of eternal power, He rose from the dead, assuming his position of power at God’s right hand.

Through His actions, Jesus gave us new life both here on earth and, more importantly, in heaven forever with God. Does this sound routine to you? Am I excited by this wonderful truth? Or have I allowed myself to be overcome with life’s busyness; reading the Bible occasionally, attending church, giving my tithe.

I was at a friend’s house lately, watching a sporting event with several people. The teams were closely matched and the score moved back and forth until the final few seconds. My team was slightly behind. There was a spirit of tension and excitement in the room. And then, as the clock wound down to the final seconds, my team scored, winning the game. The room exploded with joy and disappointment, depending on which team you hoped would win. Those who were rooting for the winning team were jumping up and down hugging each other. The others were disappointed and sad. You know the feeling of joy when your team wins at the last second.

After reading the verses in Ephesians 1 above, what sort of excitement and jubilation should I feel— every day?

“All praise to God for His wonderful kindness to us.”

I should be jumping up and down as I recall His words. I am on the winning team forever. God has forgiven all my sins and prepared a place for me in heaven (John 14:1-3). He will wipe away all my tears (Revelation 21:4).

“For the joy that was set before Him” Jesus “endured the cross.” Hebrews 12:2 Savor God’s Word.

Hope Springs Eternal, Part 1

Sitting in their third-floor apartment, the couple dreaded what awaited in the mailbox below. Either a check sent from a friend in California, or the reality of an eviction. They were befuddled and discouraged. Neither had jobs yet but knew in their hearts that God had given them the stamp of approval to move to Oregon. 

 Their friends were mostly perplexed when they said, “No, we don’t have jobs and don’t know yet where we will live, but God has promised us that He will provide all our needs. Just like He told Abram to move to a land that He would show him, He has said the same to us.” And now what of their former testimony? What will their friends think of God who they said would be their provider?  

Well, it was time to face the mailbox, to see if God chose to provide through a restaurant owner in California. He was too agitated to go so she trekked downstairs alone. As soon as she returned, he knew the check had not arrived. His final hope flew out the window. He was crushed. Devastated. Discouraged. She hated to see her husband like this. Her normally upbeat, encouraging, man of faith was sitting head-in-hands on the couch, lifeless.  

Shaking his head back and forth, he muttered, “What will we do now? What happened to God’s promises, His provision?” And then it happened, slowly his head raised up, his eyes focused and he said, “I’ve got to remind myself of Gods promises to us. What does His word say about who we are, who He is in our lives, and that He will provide for us. I must come against this feeling of failure and discouragement and take courage from God’s words to us. Oh, forgive me Lord. Let me remind myself of your precious promises that never fail or fall short.”  

The Savior Is Born


“The Savior, yes the Messiah, has been born this day” ~Luke 2:11

“The kids were so good in the Christmas pageant this year and it was so cute watching Sue and Ken’s little one play the part of baby Jesus,” said Claire.

“Yes, that was great. And Jimmy as one of the shepherds looked so good,” said Paul.

“Well, until his beard began to come off,” Claire chuckled.

And so it goes in children’s books and church plays; the baby Jesus, shepherds, scattered animals and three wise men carrying gifts, coming together in a makeshift manger scene. As the old saying goes, “What’s wrong with this picture?”

What’s wrong is the message. If you watched this pageant in your church what were your feelings? Did the simple child actors convey the importance of Christ’s birth to the audience? No! These children’s plays bring parental feelings of love for the actors, pride in their achievements with a little humor along the way. So what’s wrong with that you may ask.

Without exception, the birth of Jesus Christ is the most important human birth in the history of the world! His birth, the birth of our Savior, should bring jubilation, joy, amazement. The sanctuaries should resound with Hosannah’s and praise the Lord, our Savior is born. How did Luke describe the announcement to the shepherds?:

“That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”

“Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”

If we are to stage a reenactment of this unique historical moment, should’t we also include the angel Gabriel’s meeting with Mary before she became miraculously pregnant as found in Luke 1:26-38?

What must that have been like for Mary? The angel Gabriel sent by God to announce she would become pregnant and give birth to the Son of the Most High.

“Greetings favored woman! The Lord is with you! Don’t be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”

Mary asked the angel, “But how  can this happen? I am a virgin.”

The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God.”

Lord God we praise your name. Through the virgin birth of your Son, Jesus, our Redeemer, you have saved our souls and forgiven our sins. We celebrate His birth and rejoice in our favor. We are jubilant and thankful that you love us so dearly you’ve sent Jesus to take upon Himself the death sentence brought about by our sins, as only He could do. Without earning it, simply by our proclamation of faith, you’ve cleansed our hearts and saved our souls. Let us celebrate the birth of our Savior whose obedience, even to his death on the cross, opened the door for our eternal forgiveness.

Children’s Christmas pageants are lovely, delightful, tender and filled with childlike innocence. They should always be on the annual calendar of events. But they should not be our only mention of this most revered, awesome, singular birth in the history of our world. Can we ever say Thank You enough?