VIDEO Don’t Fear Death!

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.” John 11:25

In 2017, Inc. magazine published research on what Americans fear the most. Number one on the list was corrupt government officials; number 48 was death.[1] The problem with annual surveys is that they tend to reflect what people fear most at the moment rather than what they fear in the grand scheme of things. Also, people tend to fear what they have the most knowledge about or experience with. Because death is not considered a “clear and present danger” to most people, it’s “out of sight, out of mind.”

But death is coming for us all (except those Christians who are alive at the Rapture of the Church). And there is no reason to fear it. Jesus said that those who believe in Him “shall never die” (John 11:26). How can that be? It’s true because those who believe in Him have eternal life today. Eternal life doesn’t begin when we die physically; it begins when we believe spiritually in Christ (John 17:3).

It has been well said, “Until we’re ready to die, we’re not ready to live.” Make sure you are living eternally today through faith in Christ.

Those who have welcomed Christ may welcome death.  Matthew Henry

I Am the Resurrection and the Life, Part 1 (John 11:17–36)

The Reason to Rest

What do people get for all the toil and anxious striving with which they labor under the sun? Ecclesiastes 2:22

If you want to live longer, take a vacation! Forty years after a study of middle-aged, male executives who each had a risk of heart disease, researchers in Helsinki, Finland, followed up with their study participants. The scientists discovered something they hadn’t been looking for in their original findings: the death rate was lower among those who had taken time off for vacations.

Work is a necessary part of life—a part God appointed to us even before our relationship with Him was fractured in Genesis 3. Solomon wrote of the seeming meaninglessness of work experienced by those not working for God’s honor—recognizing its “anxious striving” and “grief and pain” (Ecclesiastes 2:22–23). Even when they’re not actively working, he says their “minds do not rest” because they’re thinking about what still needs to be done (v. 23).

We too might at times feel like we’re “chasing after the wind” (v. 17) and grow frustrated by our inability to “finish” our work. But when we remember that God is part of our labor—our purpose—we can both work hard and take time to rest. We can trust Him to be our Provider, for He’s the giver of all things. Solomon acknowledges that “without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?” (v. 25). Perhaps by reminding ourselves of that truth, we can work diligently for Him (Colossians 3:23) and also allow ourselves times of rest…

By:  Kirsten Holmberg

Reflect & Pray

How can you invite God into your labors? How might you allow Him to be your satisfaction even when your work isn’t “finished”?

God, You bring meaning and purpose to all my labors.

When We Feel Frustrated

Numbers 22

Most of us have experienced frustration when it comes to personal issues. But what do we do when we are frustrated and the roadblock comes from God Himself?

Sometimes God uses frustration to get our attention. It can help us think about things we wouldn’t otherwise consider and perhaps redirect our path toward something new or different. So when you are harried by feelings of anxiety or restlessness, don’t rush to bury or escape them. Instead, consider them internal signals, as if your conscience is saying, “It’s time to turn inward, listen, and process your feelings.”

Rest assured, if these stirrings are from God, they will not go away, and when they recur, we need to give Him our undivided attention. We will begin to see that He loves us enough to send something very specific to set us on a new path with Him.

It is an honor to have our sovereign Creator invested in our personal life–so invested, in fact, that He may frustrate us in order to show us a better way. At the end of the day, it’s all because of His great love and His commitment to conform us to the image of His Son.

Moses and Elijah

“And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias: Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.” (Luke 9:30-31)

This is a mysterious passage. Peter, James, and John watched in awe as Christ was “transfigured” before them as Christ had promised (Mark 9:2). But how could Moses and Elijah be there? Moses’ body had been buried by God in an unknown tomb in Moab some 1,500 years before, and no resurrection had yet taken place (Deuteronomy 34:5-6; 1 Corinthians 15:22-23). Elijah had been taken alive into heaven in a chariot of fire over 900 years previously (2 Kings 2:11).

The fact is that this whole experience was a remarkable vision! Jesus said after it was over: “Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead” (Matthew 17:9). Although they had just been awakened out of sleep (Luke 9:32), the disciples knew this was not a dream. All three had seen it together and “were sore afraid” (Mark 9:6).

This vision of the future kingdom was for the disciples’ encouragement (and for ours, as well), for the Lord had just been warning them of His coming death, as well as the cross which they, themselves, must take up to follow Him (Luke 9:23). The kingdom of God would come on Earth in all its future power and glory. But first, He must die and rise again, and they must be His witnesses of these things.

But when He did return in glory, there would be two groups of people sharing His glory with Him: Moses representing the resurrected saints, and Elijah the “raptured” saints. “The dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). HMM

How Much I Could Have Done

And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God. —2 Corinthians 8:5

Before the judgment seat of Christ my service will be judged not by how much I have done but by how much I could have done. In God’s sight my giving is measured not by how much I have given but by how much I could have given and how much I had left after I made my gift. The needs of the world and my total ability to minister to those needs decide the worth of my service.

Not by its size is my gift judged, but by how much of me there is in it. No man gives at all until he has given all. No man gives anything acceptable to God until he has first given himself in love and sacrifice….

In the work of the church the amount one man must do to accomplish a given task is determined by how much or how little the rest of the company is willing to do. It is a rare church whose members all put their shoulder to the wheel. The typical church is composed of the few whose shoulders are bruised by their faithful labors and the many who are unwilling to raise a blister in the service of God and their fellowmen. There may be a bit of wry humor in all this, but it is quite certain that there will be no laughter when each of us gives account to God of the deeds done in the body.   TIC105

Help me to give of myself completely today, Lord. I hold nothing back, even if at the end of the day I’m the only one with a bruised shoulder. Amen.

Tozer on Christian Leadership: A 366-Day Devotional.

Feeling versus Faith

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. —Hebrews 11:1

If God wills to pour out His Spirit upon us, why do not more Christians and more churches receive an experience of power like that of the early Church? That some have so received is joyfully admitted, but why is the number so few? When the provision is so broad and the promise so sure, what doth hinder us?…

One obstacle to the reception of power is a widespread fear of our emotions wherever they touch the religious life….

This anti-emotionalism…is an unwarranted inference, not a scriptural doctrine, and is in violent opposition to psychology and common sense. Where in the Bible are feeling and faith said to be at odds?

The fact is that faith engenders feeling…. We can have feeling without faith, it is true, but we can never have faith without feeling. Faith as a cold, unemotional light is wholly unknown in the Scriptures. The faith of those Bible heroes listed in the Book of Hebrews invariably aroused emotion and led to positive action in the direction of their faith. PTP052-054

[I]f we love Him, He can make us supremely happy. JAS076

Musings in the Upper Room

Luke 24:36-41

Lord, how You frighten me,

coming through walls, suddenly appearing,

all shining, unearthly. Can it be

You’re the smiling One I remember

bouncing children on Your knee?

I remember Your hillside stories,

so terrible and wonderful,

but all their awe-inspiring glories,

their woundings and their soothings were

gentled by some calm or ease

we felt with You. We marked the real

way Your lips formed words and sighs,

the way dust clung to Your heel

when you walked the village roads, the arch

of muscle and bone when You stooped to kneel.

And when You died, Your blood was red.

It matted Your hair, fell on Your chest.

Your chest… I could see it pound. I fled

when I knew that You were innocent,

that you were dying for me instead.

They put You in a human tomb.

Women wept, as women do,

as many touched with grief and gloom.

(Once, Lord, I saw You weep

tears like rain in the silent room.)

Resurrected, now You stand

too wonderful for me to look,

too high, I cannot comprehend

our majesty, Your holiness.

But suddenly You extend a hand.

I can’t believe the marks I see,

the ugly wounds, ragged gashes,

marks of experienced humanity!

Why have you allowed these to remain

in your splendid, glorified body?

Reminders always of mankind’s son?

Marks of earth You choose to wear?

Can it be when all is said and done

these bloody badges forever prove

that You and I are inexplicably one?

Marlene Chase, The Officer