Lifted Up

Jesus, Christ, God, Holy, Spirit, Bible

It is colder, darker, and bleaker each day

November so different from the month of May

Spring and its messages we oft forget

When we find ourselves cold and wet

But the Spring too once had a darkest day

When the Son of Grace in a tomb did lay

But He rose to glory, His mission fulfilled

And sent His Spirit His power to wield

We those empowered should not be dismayed

By the darkest of situations the world has made


Padre

Resurrection Day

Empty Tomb, Nazareth, Israel, Nazareth Village, Jesus
Pixabay

Seal
Broken
Stone removed
The tomb empty
Grave clothes abandoned
Our salvation assured
Miracle like no other
Death’s dominion shattered – destroyed
Vilest Sins forgiven at long last
On this glorious resurrection day


Padre

Tomb (ABP 12)

“Where were you? 

Why did you delay?

If you had only been here –

He would have been saved.”*

 

“I have come in the fullness of time.

Lazarus shall not remain in the grave

His tomb only prefigures mine

And by it – more than Lazarus I will save.”

 

From Adam to Abraham, Abraham to David,

From David to Zerubbabel and beyond,**

We too like Lazarus – were dead in our sin

But by Jesus’s grave we have won.

 

Padre

August Bible Poem 12

John 11*

Matthew 1, Luke 3**

 

 

 

 

Imprisoned No More

Pixabay

It was the most famous escape in the history of the world.  He was enclosed in a windowless compartment, a heavy sealed stone door in place.  Armed guards patrolled the only entrance.  And yet, escape He did.  What makes it even a greater feat of escapology is the fact that he had been declared dead by the authorities that conducted His state sanctioned execution.  No, no fiction this week readers, but a fact, “stranger than fiction.”  The event the greatest of all time.  Jesus is risen, and the stone was moved away!

Encased, enclosed, imprisoned

By our acts of sin

Jesus burst these chains of death

Only a burial shroud left within

We like He are free now

Satan’s trap of lies broken

The gates of Hell themselves

For Jesus has left them open

 

Padre

Sunday Photo (Non)Fiction – Apr 12 2020

 

 

 

Risen Completely

Empty-Tomb-Picture-06

Sister Amba finished our series on the Risen Christ with a message, “Completely Risen.” Over the lead-up to Easter topics such as, since Jesus is risen our minds are renewed, and we are risen to reign.  Amba closed this with our complete raising in His rising.

She noted that to be complete is to be fulfilled.  She then showed us three aspects of fulfillment brought about in the Easter story.

The first is that Jesus’ mission was complete. In John 19: 28 -30 we read,

“Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.”  A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”

Jesus Himself said “It is finished.”  Mission completed! But there is more to the passage, notice that in His words and actions on the cross “Scripture was fulfilled.” This completed mission had been established before time.  The prophecies (including Psalm 22) had been met word for word.  But even this does not show the magnitude of Jesus’ sacrifice.  This plan called for Him to set aside Heaven, and become Emmanuel. He also had the power to defeat those who opposed Him physically (see John 18: 4 -6), but was true to the plan and His statement in Gethsemane, “Father, Your will not mine.”

But if the mission was completed on the cross, the story continued with the grave. Jesus did not remain in the tomb. He was raised to glory!  He was raised with power.

In His rising we are “fulfilled in power.” Romans 8:11 tells us, “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.” We are raised by the same power, a power that transforms us completely.  We are made “new creations” who are transformed and renewed in our minds, souls, and who are lifted up that even giving us life everlasting.

Yet many do not show this total completeness.  This comes not from the Spirit’s “failure” to raise us up, but from our failure to take hold of the promise, the power, and the transformation.  We hold on to the self-limiting (see Battle for the Mind) views that deprive us of “the peace that passes all understanding.”

But Amba clearly reminded us that Jesus in His passion gave us His all in all. He not only left Heaven, but He faced the trials of betrayal, denial, arrest, beating, and ultimately execution. He “gave it all.” How then can we still hold on to the passed He died to free us from?  We need to make Him our all in all.  Colossians 3: 5f challenges us,

“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Gentile or Jew,circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

If we put the past behind us, from which He has freed us we will be transformed:  transformed beyond our circumstances; transformed beyond our earthly desires; and transformed beyond our doubts and fears.  We will be raised completely, through His rising!

Padre

[Thank you Amba for this message. For anyone interested, Sister Amba has recently written a book on her reflections on 2 Corinthians.  If you are interested in checking it out please let me know, and I will put you into contact with her].

 

Risen to Reign

heavenly-crown

Pastor Rich continued our series on the Risen Jesus Raising Us.  His theme was “Risen to Reign.” He began his message with a reference to Revelation 1: 5b and 6, “To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.”  We are through His resurrection, and His love, raised up to be a kingdom of priests, and He has freed us from our sins.

This is truly a raising up.  We who were slaves to sin, are now elevated to priesthood.  Our reign is not a rule of power and conceit, but of service and holiness. Sin is mastered, and no longer master through the transformational power of the resurrection.

This is evident in Romans 5:17,  “For if, by the trespass of the one man (Adam), death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!”  We are transformed by grace to reign in life.  This reign is fantastic. We who were lost through the nature of Adam, are now adopted into the family of the King of kings, and Lord of lords.  We are the younger siblings of the Prince of Peace, and the adopted children of the King of the universe. How’s that for being lifted up?

But again, we are not to be arrogant or prideful in this.  It is through no merit of our own, but by the grace of Him crucified, that in His rising He has raised us as well.

Returning to the transformation into mastery, it is now that we have the ability through the redemption of the blood, that we can rise above circumstance and even our “old self” (the slave self). This is not by works “lest any may boast.” As Pastor Rich rightly said (and in keeping with James’ epistle) we work not to be saved, or to be raised. Grace equals salvation and works.  Works do not equate to salvation. We work not to be saved, but because we are.  This service to God, and our fellow man is reflective to our reign as a “kingdom of priests” (Rev 1: 6).

Rich illustrated this raising with Gideon in Judges 6. Here is a man, the least of his family, the least family of Manasseh, the least tribe of Israel. Yet, God addresses him as “mighty warrior.”  Gideon immediately questions, rather than accept the salutation.  But God had ordained him to lead his people.  This man who is found hiding in a wine press becomes Judge over Israel. This is the rising we too have through Jesus’ rising.

We have despite our pasts, weaknesses, or doubts been raised to reign.

Padre

The Battle For the Mind

daydream

Pastor Vince brought a terrific message this week as part of a series leading to Easter.  The theme of resurrection, and of new life, this week found its focus on the “renewing of our minds (Ephesians 4:23).”

As Christ has risen to a new life, so too are we to be lifted again.  This in the body, but also in the spirit, and in the mind.  But all too often we despair.  We make assumptions that our lives, struggles, and trials are somehow fixed.  We see that our old nature is “who we are,” and as such have no real expectation of things ever being different.  This is clearly a case of “stinking thinking,” and it is self-limiting. Proverbs 23:7 makes this clear, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he . . .”

The pastor noted, however, that this is not the case. Ephesians 4: 8 proclaims, “Wherefore he saith, When he [Christ] ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.” God, in Jesus’ resurrection overcame death.  He led us away from the captivity of Hell, but also from the captivity of our own self-limiting.

Satan (whose name indicates that he is one who opposes and obstructs) wants us to be self-limited.  He wants us to believe that we are bound to sin, bound to fail, bound to suffer. He is a deceiver, we saw this in Eden. His lies are just that, lies.  The power that raised Jesus from the tomb, now raises us. The devil has no power. It is the Gospel, and the power of the resurrected Jesus which (as in Matthew 16:18) the “gates of hell” will not be able to withstand.  Note here in our battle for the mind, that Satan (and hell’s gates) cannot prevail (and gates are a defensive weapon).  The real power is on our side. Let that thought help “renew your mind.”

Any suffering we experience is temporary.  Jesus was three days dead, but ROSE! We too shall be lifted up.  And these temporary trails are just that, temporary.  God is sovereign. Even in the case of Job, Satan could not do anything without permission.  The devil is not the master of circumstances.

So in this battle for the mind, we need to be steadfast.  Yes we mess up, yes we daydream instead of focus, yes we even backslide.  But this does not mean we are “unchanged” by the resurrection. Our changing of our mindset, is like the rest of our change in Christ. To repent means to “turn around” to go another way.  Our minds can do likewise. Romans 8:11 tells us, “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.” To our mortal bodies and our minds.  The battle is to “love the Lord our God, with all our mind, heart, and strength” – our whole renewed being.

Too much of our 21st Century world view is linked to scientific determinism.  If A , then B.  All things are predictable, all things are set by laws of nature and physics. But the resurrection of the son of the Nain widow, of the daughter of Jarius, of Lazarus, and of Christ Himself, show us otherwise.  We need not say like Lazarus’ sister, “its too late, now he [I] smells.” But rather, like Lazarus we are to “come forth.”

Let us not succumb to the assaults of our own “old voice,” but “be renewed in the spirit of your mind.”

Padre