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Roses Have Thorns, But Not Always

Even in laughter the heart may be in pain, And the end of joy may be grief.

(Proverbs 14:13)

In the lobby of my church a sudden outburst of laughing will pound through my office walls. At times I will look out just to see what is so funny. And it is funny, what I see. There may be two or maybe ten who are all enjoying a good story or the end of some tease. But I know these people. There is the one who is still recovering from surgery and has burdens for her family and their faith. There is the one whose spouse is a broken person who brings so many burdens into the home and lives of the family. There is that person whose job is currently up in the air and the reality of the unknown is upon him. I see the parents laughing who have a wayward child and they are very concerned.

If I wanted to stop any of that laughter all I would need to do is pull one of them aside and inquire as to how is the situation, the burden. Laughing eyes will reflect the burden and pain that is just below the surface. Tears or anguished faces will appear and a softer, heavier voice will speak.

For all of us there are times of great laughter that hide the pain we suffer within. It is the reality of living in this broken, sinful age. We will hold in our arms a small baby and be filled with joy never knowing that the end will be grief. We will walk down an aisle to marry only for the end to be grief. We will start out our life in college and in the end is grief.

We must never forget that many things in this life bring joy. And we can enjoy them as such. But like the thorns of the rose so too do all things bringing joy. So we hold things that belong to this age lightly. Rejoicing in the times of joy and weeping with those who weep in grief. We gather together on Sunday to hold up fists of rebellion to the gods of this age as we declare by faith that God the Father “. . . raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.” (Ephesians 1:20-21)

Jesus tells us that we will never taste the fullness of death, called the second death, if our hope is in Him alone. Peter tells us we are kept safe by God’s power so that even if we have grief and sorrow we shall never be lost. Paul tells us that by the great love of our heavenly Father we were forgiven and raised up with Jesus Christ in the heavenly places all because we are in union with His Son.

I need to remember this more each day.

And so do you.

Keeping It in Perspective 12/30/2014

Just read a powerfully written post by a young woman listening to her husband call hospice for her.  We end this year in various life situations and if we are not careful we begin to think that ours is the greatest or most difficult.  These little posts are to keep everything in perspective.  Here is a bit of what she wrote:

So, there it is. My little body has grown tired of battle and treatment is no longer helping. But what I see, what I know, what I have is Jesus. He has still given me breath, and with it I pray I would live well and fade well. By degrees doing both, living and dying, as I have moments left to live. I get to draw my people close, kiss them and tenderly speak love over their lives. I get to pray into eternity my hopes and fears for the moments of my loves. I get to laugh and cry and wonder over heaven. I do not feel like I have the courage for this journey, but I have Jesus- and He will provide it. He has given me so much to be grateful for, and that gratitude, that wondering over His love will cover us all. And it will carry us- carry us in ways we cannot comprehend. It will be a new living and trusting for many in my community. Loving with a great big open hand to my story being the good story- even when it feels so broken.

Read the rest here . . . .

Do You Believe in The Resurrection?

Here is a great little offering that is free:

Raised? Doubting The ResurrectionRAISED-low-res-250x370

This is a bit of what the authors say about the book:

We wrote this book out of our love for skeptics and respect for the questions they help us ask. We also write as believers who oscillate in real belief in the resurrected Christ. We hope it proves to be an insightful, stirring reflection on the resurrection. 

We are giving this book away in the hope that churches will make the eBook or hardcopy available to their people, especially to all their visitors on Easter. We are praying God would use it to spark gospel conversations, equip believers, and help people meet the risen Jesus. Download the entire book for free below (Kindle (.mobi), iBooks (.epub), & PDF).

Read more about it here.

H/T Take Your Vitamin Z

Mission-Work and The Resurrection

As we celebrate the risen Messiah today, we must us not forget the tens of millions who have never heard. Millions without any access to the gospel. People groups who have never heard the hope of forgiveness of sin found in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

It is the resurrection of Jesus that makes missions possible and gives mission-work meaning and purpose.  We are not to be a people who merely believe in the resurrection, we are to be a people who proclaim the resurrection and all the fulness of the ramifications of it.  We are a people of the resurrection going to people who do not know the resurrection.  That is the call of Missio Dei Fellowship.

Lost from AsiaLink HistoryMaker on Vimeo.

My Easter Prayer

Father, today we come to
remember
and rejoice
and renew our faith
in the hope of the resurrection.
Not any resurrection,
but the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
The resurrection that is the very destruction of our mortal enemy, death itself.

We give you eternal, unending praise Father to have loved us
with a love that acts
And a love that sends
that which is most precious to You.
Your Son.

We give you thanks that Jesus became our sin-bearer.
Our perfect sin-bearer
Our eternal sin-bearer
One who brings us out of condemnation and rejection
and into justification and acceptance.

We who were guilty and without hope
now are filled with eternal hope.
Peace has been given to us.
Forgiveness has been granted to us.
Adoption is our inheritance.
Access to you is our privilege.

Holy Father, today I ask that you work in our hearts
to see the glory of the resurrection of Jesus
How it causes us to not hope in vain.

Bring the Spirit upon us in a powerful way,
one that opens eyes that are blind
one that makes dead hearts alive
one that instructs and guides us in all truth.

Amen

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