It’s a perfect day to learn a bit more about God through the lens of the Apostle Paul’s journeys. Dr. Perkins teaches this class from 10:30 – 11:15 AM in LIVE. Today’s notes are available here. Pauls Journeys Acts Part 2-1
Although Resurrection Sunday is now past, resurrection life is fresh every day. Maybe we should call today Resurrection Monday because eternal life can not be contained in one day each year. The same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead gives life, 24/7/365 to the one who trusts in Jesus.
What is true of Resurrection Sunday is true daily. Consider, for example, the angel’s words in Matthew 28:5.
But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.
Today, like that first resurrection day, some people “seek Jesus who was crucified.” There is something special about the person whose heart continually looks for Jesus who was crucified.
Two very different things can be true at the same time. For example, “I have found the Messiah and I am looking for the Messiah,” show a heart that is both solidly anchored (I have found) and flexibly pursuing (I am looking).
Pastor Willard Leisy, now with the Lord, captured this idea with a unique sentence, “I am satisfied with a dissatisfied satisfaction.” Another friend, Duane Parrish, said “I am fully satisfied and yet I hunger for more.”
“Seeking Jesus who was crucified” was true, is true, and will be true of the devout follower of Jesus.
With God’s help it will be true that I have found, am finding and will find Jesus who was crucified.
Jesus tells you (Luke 21:28) to straighten up and lift up your head with joyous anticipation.
Jesus, Himself, lived with joyous anticipation. Hebrews 12:2
The resurrection of Jesus is the guarantee of the truthfulness of His teachings. 1 Peter 1:3
We live with joyous anticipation in the words of our Lord who said, “Because I live, you also will live. John 14:19
Listen to the rejoicing anticipation in Paul’s words, “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” 1 Corinthians 15:55
Can you imagine it? Rejoice in anticipation of Revelation 21:1-7, 22-27.
None of us can adequately imagine our present and future in God. 1 Corinthians 2:9
Don’t miss out on God’s amazing future for everyone written in the Book of Life.
- Revelation 3:5
- Revelation 13:8
- Revelation 20:12
- Revelation 21:27
It is those who say Y.E.S. to Jesus who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
The “I Said Yes” journey includes three very important decisions.
Y Totally YIELD the rights of your life, decisions, thinking and doing to
E Fully ENGAGE in the life God has for you
S Live as a SACRIFICE unto God
We approach the wretchedness of crucifixion with rejoicing anticipation. At the cross of Jesus we experience the many and varied deaths of this life and lift up our heads and look up with joyous anticipation. Luke 21:28
The Holy Forty Martyrs exemplify the fact that the poor in spirit followers of Jesus live with unwavering commitment to that which is unseen by physical eyes.
The poor in spirit followers of Jesus know their true treasure is not made by human hands, measured in possessions, or received in this life.
The Holy Forty Martyrs, in prayer the night before their martyrdom, heard the voice of the Lord saying,
“He who believes in Me, though he die, yet shall he live. Be bold and have no fear of short-lived torment which soon passes; endure…that you may receive crowns.”
Today, just as our lives are unfolding, we rejoice in anticipation of a heavenly crown. The Bible details the heavenly crown with five unique descriptors:
- The Imperishable Crown – 1 Corinthians 9:24-25
- The Crown of Rejoicing – 1 Thessalonians 2:19
- The Crown of Righteousness – 2 Timothy 4:8
- The Crown of Glory – 1 Peter 5:4
- The Crown of Life – Revelation 2:10
John and Betty Stam
Born in 1906 in Albion, Michigan, she grew up in China, where her parents were missionaries. When she was seventeen years old, she came back to the United States for her last year of high school, followed by college and study at Moody Bible Institute.
On September 11, 1934, their daughter, Helen Priscilla, was born. Three months later, John and Betty, along with their infant daughter, were arrested by hostile Communist soldiers. After spending the first night in a local prison, they were forced to march twelve miles with the soldiers to another town. They finally stopped for the night at the home of a wealthy man who had fled. Before they left the next morning, Betty hid her baby in the house inside a small sleeping bag. Then, John and Betty were marched down the streets of the town, their hands tightly bound, stripped of their outer garments.
On their way to the site of the execution, a Christian shopkeeper tried to persuade the soldiers not to kill the couple. He, too, was dragged away to be killed. When John pled with the soldiers not to kill the man, the Communist leader ordered him to kneel, then beheaded him with a sword. Betty fell down bound at her husband’s side, no scream coming from her lips. Moments later, the same sword that had killed her husband ended her life.
Baby Helen was discovered thirty hours later by a local pastor. She was safe and warm, apparently none the worse for having gone all that time without milk. Inside her clothing, the pastor found extra diapers and two five-dollar bills that Betty had pinned there—just enough to provide for a rescue party to get her to safety.
John and Betty Stam’s bodies were taken, buried, with the following grave stones.
John Cornelius Stam, January 18, 1907, “That Christ may be glorified whether by life or by death.” Philippians 1:20
Elisabeth Scott Stam, February 22, 1906, “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21
December 8, 1934, Miaosheo, Anhui, “Be thou faithful unto death and I will give thee a crown of life.” Revelation 2:10
- What is there in you that may distract you from the cross and crown?
- What fear may stop your commitment to the cross and the crown?
- What relationship may hinder you from the cross and the crown?
You may have brought your Palm Sunday frond formed into the shape of a cross or you may have received a palm frond cross when you entered today.
Would you be willing to “crucify” anything and everything that may hinder you, distract you, or stop you from pursuing the cross and the crown?
Write, on your palm frond cross, those things that are in your way of taking up your cross and receiving your crown.
- A friend?
- Past hurt?
As we worship and contemplate Jesus’ death on the cross and His call to us to anticipate, with joy, the crown on the other side of the cross, please feel free to move to the front and nail or pin your written declaration on the cross with the intent of remembering that Jesus cancels every hindrance by His death on the cross.
Andrew, feeling unworthy to die in the same manner as Jesus, received his crown after being crucified with arms and legs apart.
Peter, also feeling unworthy to die similarly to Jesus, received his crown after being crucified upside down.
Jesus received His crown after being crucified on Golgotha’s rugged cross.
Betty Scott Stam, at eighteen years of age, expressed the desire of her soul in the following prayer.
Lord, I give up my own plans and purposes, all my own desires, hopes and ambitions, and I accept Thy will for my life. I give up myself, my life, my all, utterly to Thee, to be Thine forever. I hand over to Thy keeping all of my friendships; all the people whom I love are to take second place in my heart. Fill me now and seal me with Thy Spirit. Work out Thy whole will in my life at any cost. Amen.
Praying and fasting with Jesus during Lent brings me face to face with a more accurate awareness of the condition of my inner person. I should always be mature and self aware yet I often lose insight and fail to understand my own heart.
Christian self awareness is a bit of an oxymoron because the Holy Spirit is revealing one’s own heart shape. More accurately, I experience Holy Spirit revealed awareness of my interiority.
If I am not on my guard, three things will choke out this Holy Spirit revelation (Mark 4:19).
- The cares of this world.
- The deceitfulness of riches.
- The desires of other things.
When, in prayer and fasting, God helps me escape the clutches of these cares, deceitfulnesses, and desires, I see the real me.
The Holy Spirit lights up my inner condition through one of Corrie ten Boom’s insightful statements.
“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”
Corrie’s words become a window through which I see my condition more clearly.
“Lord, in this season of my life, please replace fear of trusting you with loving faith.”
Between the Ascension of Jesus (Acts 1:10,11) and His Return (1 Thessalonians 4:16) God is at work in the world through the Holy Spirit (John 16:7,8). Right now, God is in the world, involved with the world, and directing the world for his purposes.
Consider Psalm 1:3, “Which yields its fruit in season.” We know that God included His love for seasons in creation and in his involvement with us. (Genesis 8:22, Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)
Holy Week reveals several of God’s seasons.
Palm Sunday – Season of the reign of King Jesus – Matthew 27:37
- Celebration of past prophecies being fulfilled.
- Celebration of the current reign of Christ our King.
- Celebration of the future reign of Christ our King.
Last Supper – Season of “The Lord will provide” – Genesis 22:13, 14
- Celebration of past Passover covenant meals.
- Celebration of Christ our Passover Lamb.
- Celebration of the upcoming Marriage Supper of the Lamb
Good Friday – Season of the ultimate sacrifice – Matthew 27:50
- Celebration of past animal
- Celebration of Jesus, God’s eternal sacrifice.
- Celebration of Jesus, the Great High Priest, presenting His blood on Heaven’s mercy
Silent Saturday – Season of quietly waiting in confidence on God – Romans 6:3-11
- Celebration of the time between what is and what will be.
- Celebration of the unseen work of God.
- Celebration of solitude that turns to joy.
Resurrection Day – Season of moving from tragedy to triumph – Nehemiah 13:2
- Celebration of prophecy fulfilled.
- Celebration of the defeat of Satan and death.
- Celebration of LIFE now and forever!
Study Byron’s notes at the link below.
What determines if the call at the home plate of my life is “safe” or “out?”
The Holy Spirit, through the Apostle Paul, reveals the Christian’s umpire at home plate is Messiah’s peace.
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts…” Colossians 3:15
My heart’s umpire is the peace of Christ. Everything that passes through my soul is measured by Christ’s peace. Learning to value, understand, and foster the peace of Christ is vitally important in every way.
Interestingly, I can participate in something that is not a sin yet disrupting of God’s peace. My life’s hub can be trained and retrained. It is my aim to have no unconfessed sin AND for my soul to be at peace with Christ.
Peace with God includes an initial experience of repentance. That first jolt of joy of knowing sin is gone and relationship is restored is exhilarating. Repentance can be birthed in at least a couple of ways. Both repentance experiences are birthed by the Holy Spirit.
First, the conviction of the Holy Spirit produces repentance from a sense of guilt. My understanding is opened to know that I am in violation of the character, glory, and law of God. The Spirit shouts to me, “You are guilty!”
Longing is another way repentance is birthed. My heart’s emphasis isn’t from a legal perspective of guilt before the Holy Judge but from the longing of a son to be in harmony with his Father.
I can feel it as I write. Not guilty before the Judge and at peace with the Father.
It is in longing for closeness with God that my soul deeply desires for everything in, about, and around me to have the peace of Christ.
Through the window of the following anonymous poetry a most inviting soulscape inspires a longing grander than words. I long for God’s presence to birth a holy harmony in me.
Thou shalt know him when he comes,
not by any din of drums, nor his manners,
nor his airs, nor by any thing he wears.
Thou shalt know him when he comes,
not by crown or by gown,
but his coming known shall be,
by the holy harmony which his coming makes in thee.
Sometimes the future carries an appeal beyond words. Like a child on Christmas Eve or an athlete the evening before playing in the Super Bowl, one can feel the call of the future with a mix of anxious delight.
This Lenten fast feels restrictive, limiting, and never ending. My body is doing well yet my mind screams, “When will Resurrection Sunday get here?” This undisciplined brain is counting down the nineteen days until Resurrection Sunday.
On that Great Day, the restrictions and limits will be gone! G.O.N.E., gone.
I get it now.
Creating a deep and abiding longing for THE Resurrection Day and life eternal is the whole point of the fast.
There is a man who from his birth has been blind.
They wanted reason. Jesus provided solution.
The blind guy sees and the seeing guys realize they are blind.
John 9:1-12 reads me perfectly.
I am blind. Blind to the blind guy. Blind to me. Blind to Jesus.
“Lord, open my eyes that I might see.”