VIDEO What a Day – Mystery of Resurrection

What a Day!

In the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.…the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 1 Corinthians 15:52

When the Montgolfier brothers first demonstrated the possibilities of flight with their hot air balloon in 1783, they sent it aloft without passengers. It traveled higher than five thousand feet into the sky and stayed up for ten minutes. There was much discussion about taking humans into the air, but no one knew how the altitude would affect them. King Louis suggested experimenting with prisoners, but the brothers instead sent up a balloon with a sheep, a duck, and a rooster. The trio survived the flight with no ill effects, and on November 21, 1783, the first human flew into the air. The man, Pilâtre de Rozier, did just fine—though he later died in a balloon accident over the English Channel.

One day soon, we’re going to soar into the heavens, and no helium or hot air will be needed—just the magnetism of mercy. We’ll instantly, safely, gloriously, incorruptibly be caught up into the sky to meet the Lord in the air. Think of the glorious sensation. Think of the suddenness. No wonder we call it the Rapture!

What a glorious day it will be!

Walking with the Lord and then suddenly there in the presence of the Lord forever…! My soul… what a day, what a day! W. A. Criswell


The Mystery of Resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:50-58)

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Vanity on Fire

Create in me a pure heart, O God.  Psalm 51:10

 

In February 1497, a Monk named Girolamo Savonarola started a fire. Leading up to this, he and his followers spent several months collecting items that they thought might entice people to sin or neglect their religious duties—including artwork, cosmetics, instruments, and dresses. On the appointed day, thousands of vanity items were gathered at a public square in Florence, Italy, and set on fire. The event has come to be known as the Bonfire of the Vanities.

Savonarola might have found inspiration for his extreme actions in some shocking statements from the Sermon on the Mount. “If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away,” said Jesus. “And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away” (Matthew 5:29–30). But if we interpret Jesus’s words literally, we miss the point of the message. The entire sermon is a lesson on going deeper than the surface, to focus on the state of our hearts rather than blaming our behavior on external distractions and temptations.

The Bonfire of the Vanities made a great show of destroying belongings and works of art, but it is unlikely that the hearts of those involved were changed in the process. Only God can change a heart. That’s why the psalmist prayed, “Create in me a pure heart, O God” (Psalm 51:10). It’s our heart that counts.

By Remi Oyedele

Reflect & Pray

What behaviors or distractions might be on your list of “vanities”? How do you try to “manage” them?

Holy God, please give me the grace to surrender my heart to You and yield my life’s vanities to the purifying fire of the Holy Spirit.

There Are Things That Cannot be Shaken

Hebrews 12:25-29

In general, people like security. We seek what is comfortable. Yet the reality of our world is that much instability exists. For example, finances, health, and even a country’s ability to survive are not guaranteed.

When our foundation is shaken, we often feel overwhelmed. Sometimes Satan causes the difficulty—with God’s permission, of course. At other times, challenging circumstances are brought about by the Lord’s hand. Regardless of the source, we have the promise in Romans 8:28 that “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” And in either case, the Almighty’s purpose remains: to glorify Himself in our world and in our lives.

There are different reasons that the Lord permits turmoil, but for now, let’s focus on one: He will not allow anything that enables man to seem self-sufficient in his own eyes. Therefore, God may lovingly allow enough trouble for us to realize our need of Him. Consider the trials the Israelites faced each time they turned away from the Lord to worship other gods. In many ways, we do the same thing today. Individually, in our churches, and as a nation, we often glorify “gods” like money or status. But the One who created us will not tolerate this.

In our pride, we tend to think we’re able to manage without God. But out of love, He may stir up our life to reveal our dependence upon Him. If you are basing your security on anything except Jesus Christ—even something as seemingly innocent as comfort—it will prove to be sinking sand.

Tree of Life

“She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.” (Proverbs 3:18)

The tree of life in the Garden of Eden was a literal tree, whose marvelous fruit apparently had the medicinal ability to retard the aging process indefinitely, even for men and women under God’s curse (Genesis 3:22-24). This amazing tree will be planted again along the streets and rivers of the New Jerusalem (Revelation 22:2-3).

The writer of Proverbs used this tree and its health-giving qualities as a symbol of four attributes of a God-centered, spiritual life that can bring blessing to all those touched by it. First of all, true wisdom is like a tree of life, imparting true happiness to all those partaking of it, then guarding it.

Next, “the fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise” (Proverbs 11:30). A life exhibiting genuine righteousness, like one manifesting genuine wisdom, yields wholesome spiritual fruit to those in real contact with it.

The third figure is given in Proverbs 13:12. “Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.” Nothing is more rejuvenating to the spirit than for a dream suddenly to come true after long-continued hope has almost gone. An abiding, confident, always-continuing life of hope is a tree of life.

Finally, “a wholesome tongue is a tree of life” (Proverbs 15:4). “Wholesome” here means “healing.” One can become a veritable tree of life by using the God-given privilege of speech not to complain or criticize, not in vulgarity or foolishness, but to help, encourage, instruct, and comfort.

May God help each of us to be a spiritual tree of life by attaining and demonstrating true wisdom, by living in genuine righteousness, by always maintaining an attitude of confident hope, and by speaking only words of edification that “minister grace unto the hearers” (Ephesians 4:29). HMM

On Nonliturgical Worship

She unto the LORD me glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come into his courts. O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth.

—Psalm 96:8-9

We of the nonliturgical churches tend to look with some disdain upon those churches that follow a carefully prescribed form of service…. But I have observed that our familiar impromptu service, planned by the leader twenty minutes before, often tends to follow a ragged and tired order almost as standardized as the Mass. The liturgical service is at least beautiful; ours is often ugly. Theirs has been carefully worked out through the centuries to capture as much of beauty as possible and to preserve a spirit of reverence among the worshipers. Ours is often an off-the-cuff makeshift with nothing to recommend it. Its so-called liberty is often not liberty at all but sheer slovenliness….

…mostly there is neither order nor Spirit, just a routine prayer that is, except for minor variations, the same week after week, and a few songs that were never much to start with and have long ago lost all significance by meaningless repetition.

In the majority of our meetings there is scarcely a trace of reverent thought, no recognition of the unity of the body, little sense of the divine Presence, no moment of stillness, no solemnity, no wonder, no holy fear.   GTM004-005

Lord, thank You for those worship leaders who really are working to restore a sense of genuine worship. May we capture that more and more. Amen.

 

Teach me Thy way, O Lord; I will walk in Thy truth

Teach me Thy way, O Lord; I will walk in Thy truth; unite my heart to fear Thy name.—Psalm 86:11.

 

If thou but suffer God to guide thee,

And hope in Him through all thy ways,

He’ll give thee strength, whate’er betide thee,

And bear thee through the evil days,

Who trusts in God’s unchanging love,

Builds on the rock that naught can move.

George Neumark.

 

If we seek, indeed, that all our ways may be His ways, if we resolve and pray that we will keep to the path of obedience, of trust, of duty; then we know that His angels are in charge of us, and that they can bear us nowhere beyond our Father’s eye, His hand, His care. Then we know that all worlds are His, all souls are His; we can trust to Him those He has taken from us, and know that when He has called them to pass out of our sight, He is with them still, to keep them in all their ways, even in that hidden path over which the dark shadow lies, until the day break and the shadows flee away.

John Ellerton.

 

Staircase to Heaven

“And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.” John 1:51

Yes, to our faith this sight is plain even at this day. We do see Heaven opened. Jesus Himself has opened that kingdom to all believers. We gaze into the place of mystery and glory, for He has revealed it to us. We shall enter it soon, for He is the way.

Now we see the explanation of Jacob’s ladder. Between earth and Heaven there is a holy commerce; prayer ascends, and answers come down, by the way of Jesus, the Mediator. We see this ladder when we see our Lord. In Him a stairway of light now furnishes a clear passage to the throne of the Most High. Let us use it, and send up by it the messengers of our prayers. We shall live the angelic life ourselves if we run up to Heaven in intercession, and lay hold upon the blessings of the covenant, and then descend again to scatter those gifts among the sons of men.

This choice sight which Jacob only saw in a dream we will turn into a bright reality. This very day we will be up and down the ladder each hour; climbing in communion, and coming down in labor to save our fellow-men. This is thy promise, O Lord Jesus, let us joyfully see it fulfilled.