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Death Cannot Hold Us Down

8 Apr

Children’s ideas of death and resurrection often surprise us. TV legend Art Linkletter once had a TV show highlighting the funny things children say. One of his funniest stories was about a seven-year-old boy whose dog had died.

To make the teary-eyed boy feel better, Linkletter said, “Don’t be sad, because your dog is up in heaven with God.”

The boy thought about this for a second and then said, “Mr. Linkletter, what would God want with a dead dog?”

Right. No dead things in heaven.

[By the way, we can’t know for sure about dogs’ destination… but Randy Alcorn has a wonderful chapter about pets in his book, Heaven. It encouraged me when my Jack Russell Terrier died.]

The truth is, God is all about giving life. We celebrate that truth on Easter; we celebrate the resurrection.

I got a kick reading about a four-year-old girl’s description of Jesus’ resurrection: “And three days later,” she said, “He snuck right out!”

Cute, but not true. Jesus didn’t sneak out of the grave.

Our Lord emerged triumphant over death, and showed Himself to hundreds of people in 12 appearances after His resurrection!

He appeared to Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:9; John 20:10-18). He appeared to the women returning from the tomb (Matthew 28:9-10) and to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-32; Mark 16:12-13).

He appeared to Simon (Cephas, or Peter) in Jerusalem (Luke 24:34; 1 Corinthians 15:5). He appeared to the disciples and others in a locked room in Jerusalem ~Thomas not being present (Luke 24:36-43; John 20:19-23). A week later, Jesus appeared again to His disciples, and Thomas saw Him (John 20:24-29).

He appeared to seven disciples at the Sea of Galilee (John 21:1-24), and to 500 believers at one time (1 Corinthians 15:6). He appeared three more times to various disciples (1 Corinthians 15:7; Matthew 28:18-20; Luke 24:50-53) before His ascension to heaven ~ and then to Paul after the ascension! (Acts 9:3-6; 1 Corinthians 15:8).

The wonderful consequence of Jesus’ resurrection for us today is this: because He lives, we too shall live (John 14:19). Jesus’ resurrection was more than an event. In John 11:15, He said, “I am the resurrection and the life…” He is the resurrection. He is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6) ~ the only way to live forever with God.

Just as death could not hold Jesus in the grave, the scriptures say, “whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die” (John 11:26). I echo Jesus’ words: “Do you believe this?”

Christians who are blood-bought and in Christ are heaven-bound, eternal creatures. The glorious truth is, Death cannot hold us down.


Easter ~ The Rest of the Story and then Some!

24 Apr

You’re likely to see a lot more people in church on Easter Sunday… well, maybe.

A husband and his wife arose one Easter morning and the wife dressed for church. It was just about time for the service when she noticed her husband hadn’t moved a finger toward getting dressed. Perplexed, she asked, “Why aren’t you getting dressed for church?”

He said, “Cause I don’t want to go.”

She asked, “Do you have any reason?”

He said, “Yes, I have three good reasons. First, the congregation is cold. Second, no one likes me. And third, I just don’t want to go.”

The wife replied, wisely, “Well, honey, I have three reasons why you should go. First, the congregation is warm. Second, there are a few people there who like you. And third, you’re the pastor! Get dressed!” *

Radio personality Paul Harvey often surprised his listeners with a surprise “twist” on his stories, saved until the very end. Broadcasts concluded with the warm tag line, And now you know … the rest of the story.” Though the folksy storyteller died in 2009, his tag line will live on in the minds of those who loved him; and his book, Paul Harvey’s the Rest of the Story, includes 82 tales with the punch line that makes us smile.

Garden Tomb - signJesus Tomb and signSign at Jesus' TombI (Dawn) read a post by my friend Lynn Mosher recently that got me thinking about not only the resurrection of Christ, but events following that miraculous day. Lynn wrote, “Who removed those gruesome nails from Jesus’ body?” It was something I’d never thought about. Of course, someone had to take down Jesus body for burial … and it was likely Joseph of Arimethea who extracted “the bloody nails driven for the sins of man.” It made me wonder what other things I might not have considered.

Actually, as I’ve thought about Easter this year after visiting Jesus’ tomb in Jerusalem, I’ve dug deeper than ever before into the facts surrounding His death and resurrection. I’ve been spurred on by my friend, Nancy Leigh DeMoss of Revive Our Hearts. I followed her broadcast series, titled “The Incomparable Christ” ~ an expansion of the chapters in the book by the same name, authored by Oswald Sanders.

As an Easter devotional, I wanted to share some of Nancy’s thoughts from that series.

“There is no way to overstate the importance of Jesus’ resurrection to the 1st century followers of DoorAtTomb_SignChrist,” she said. “Before the resurrection, they were timid, fearful . . . the thought that their lives might be at risk caused them to run for cover . . . and then, the news of the resurrection, along with the empowering of the Holy Spirit, transformed those first disciples into a bold band of believers who were willing to lay down their lives for Christ’s sake. The Church was birthed and spread through the proclamation that Christ died for our sins and was raised from the dead.

“Apart from Christ’s resurrection from the dead, we have no hope of eternal life,” Nancy said. “According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1 Peter 1:3).”

Nancy then shared Seven implications of the Resurrection for those who have placed their faith in Christ.

  1. The Resurrection means there is hope in the most desperate circumstance.
  2. The Resurrection means that God always keeps His promises. (Matthew 28:5-6; 16:21-22)
  3. The Resurrection means that death is no longer to be feared. (John 11:25-26)
  4. The bodily Resurrection of Christ assures us of our own bodily resurrection. (1 Corinthians 6:14; Philippians 3:21)
  5. The Resurrection means that God has accepted and approves of the work Christ did on the cross, and therefore He accepts and approves of us! (Ephesians 2:6; Romans 4:25)
  6. The Resurrection means the power and dominion of sin in our lives has been overcome (Romans 6:4-5)
  7. The Resurrection means that the same power that raised Christ from the dead is available to us. (Philippians 3:10; Ephesians 1:19-20)

So, the BLESSINGS DIDN’T END on Continue reading

Washing Feet in an Old Bucket!

22 Apr

I (Dawn) had fun giving my granddaughters “Peeps” bunnies and chicks for Easter, inPink Bunny Peep each of their favorite colors. We love to tell each other silly jokes … like this one:

What do you call three rabbits in a row, hopping backwards simultaneously?

A receding hareline!

Pam and I admire and are blessed by the joy that motivates the life of one of our friends, Arlene Pellicane.

We think you will smile when you read about Arlene own little “peeps.”

My first grader, Ethan, is home for Easter break.  I was thinking about something I could do to make Easter more meaningful ~ less focus on candy, and more focus on Christ!  The Lord gave me a great idea that would work for my family (Lucy is 1, Noelle is 4, and Ethan is 6). I chose 10 Easter moments from the Bible and then made a folder with construction paper with the moments listed, each with catchy titles like:

Today we studied “Washing Feet” from John 13:1-9.  I read the beautiful story of Jesus washing the feet of His disciples.  We laughed together picturing the principal of Ethan’s school washing students’ feet, hanging up their backpacks, serving food in the cafeteria, and wiping kids noses.  Although we do have a very good principal who would probably do all those things, Ethan got the point.  Jesus was the leader, the KING, and yet He served.

I had my modern-day bucket of water on the floor ~ an old Costco detergent container ~ and I began with my daughter, Noelle.  As she sat, I told her while I washed her feet, “I’m your mommy.  I love you very much and it’s my pleasure to serve you.  Jesus cares for you so much.” She was so sweet, all smiles, and I know it made an impression on her soft heart.

Ethan was next.  The moment was not as sacred.  More silly. Continue reading

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