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Following the Risen Lord with Confidence

DEVOTION—RESURRECTION LIVING

The story was told by one of my former teachers of a time when the lower grade classroom of Messiah Lutheran School in Hales Corners was working on an art project. I was in second grade at the time, and my classmate, Gretchen, already having finished her project, walked up to my desk and asked if I wanted help finishing mine. Apparently, my response was, “Let me see yours first.” Isn’t that a typical response? Even from childhood, most of us just don’t like getting ourselves into commitments before we know exactly what we can expect.

That wasn’t the response of another young Samuel, however. When the great prophet was still just a child serving in the tabernacle, the Lord called out to him by night. “Samuel!” Three times he ran to Eli the priest and responded, “Here I am!” (1 Samuel 3:1-10 ESV) Finally, he recognized the Lord’s voice and answered Him, “Speak, for your servant hears.” Notice the readiness in all of Samuel’s replies. “Here I am . . . Speak, for your servant hears.” With the confident trust of a child, it’s as if he’s saying, “I don’t know what is coming or what you will require of me; but whatever it is, I will listen to and follow you.” Read More »Following the Risen Lord with Confidence

The Longest Name

DEVOTION – EASTER

We each bear a name that tells a lengthy story.

The longest name in recorded history belonged to a man who went by “Hubert B. Wolfe + 988 Sr.” This was merely a shortening of his full name which included twenty-six ordinary names followed by a 988-letter surname. I would guess that most of us go by three names, although perhaps some have four; certainly, none come near to the length of Hubert’s name. But, in a way, we can all claim to have a name that is much longer than even his. In the book The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien, a tree-like creature says about his name, “I am not going to tell you my name, not yet at any rate. . . . For one thing, it would take a long while: my name is growing all the time, and I’ve lived a very long, long time; so my name is like a story.” Similarly, we each bear a name that tells a lengthy story. It’s the name Christian.Read More »The Longest Name

Luck Has Nothing to Do With It

“If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.
And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith”

(1 Corinthians 15:13-14 NIV).

“Good luck! And, by the way, there’s no such thing as luck.”

This was the parting comment a Christian friend made to us as he prepared to climb into his van and return home from the Sunday morning service. We knew what he meant. It was his way of encouraging us to remember that our lives aren’t guided by blind chance. We have an almighty Lord Who is at our side every moment, Who controls all events in the lives of His believers for their good.

Someone might ask, “What’s the guarantee of this?” A good answer (short but sweet) is, “EASTER!” We celebrate Easter with gusto and a multitude of hallelujahs because we know it is our heavenly Father’s assurance that the One Who died on the cross, Whose body was laid in the grave, also arose triumphantly. He is now orchestrating all happenings in the world at large and in our personal lives so they help us to attain a blessed end.

What would your life be like if the angel’s message, “He is not here, He is risen!” were a fairy tale? Then everything you believe about Jesus would be a mirage. The wall of sin that separated you from your God would still be there. Death would be pursuing you as an invincible foe. Your hope of heaven would be a delusion. The devil would have reason to celebrate, for it would mean he had scuttled Jesus’ mission as mankind’s Savior . . . IF the events of Easter didn’t happen.Read More »Luck Has Nothing to Do With It

The Emmaus Transformation

“And they said to one another, ‘Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?’” (Luke 24:32).

Usually it is easy to tell.

There are the telltale signs that readily reveal a person’s frame of mind. You watch the youngster out in the winter cold shoveling the sidewalk. From the slouch of his shoulders to the doing-as-little-as-possible attitude, it is easy to conclude that he would rather be anywhere other than where he is. His negative attitude radiates through his lackluster actions.

On the other hand you might witness the retiree out in the summertime flowerbed. You hear her humming, see the hint of a smile playing about the corners of her mouth, while her hands busily make quick work of removing those stubborn and unwelcome weeds among her petunias and roses. You easily surmise that she is happy to be improving the appearance of her property.

Yes, it is usually quite easy to tell. A downcast—perhaps guilty, sad, or disappointed—frame of mind will be as readily obvious as a mindset of joy, happiness, forgiveness, or new life.Read More »The Emmaus Transformation

To Rise from Sin

“. . . just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life”
(Romans 6:4). 

EASTER

is indeed a joyful time of the year as we celebrate the anniversary of our Savior’s resurrection. He who died for us rose again and lives forevermore! What greater joy for us than to know that our Redeemer lives! That joy comes from comprehending by faith the wonder of God’s love and the forgiveness that is ours in Christ Jesus. So we know a great sense of relief from guilt and we know peace and hope, but do we fully realize the power of the resurrection? Perhaps one’s first thought relating to the power of Jesus’ resurrection is that our mortal bodies too shall rise from the grave, Read More »To Rise from Sin

Christ, the Firstfruits, Is Risen!

“Now Christ has risen from the dead and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Corinthians 15:20).

Three important festivals came together at the time of the Passover, therefore also at the time of Jesus’ death and resurrection. All three have great significance for our salvation—significance that we do not want to miss.

Together they make up the season of liberation and salvation, showing how carefully God had planned and prepared every detail of our salvation. He pictured it for us 1500 years beforehand so that nothing would be left to chance.

The Passover

The first and most recognizable festival was the Passover itself. Just as the blood of the Passover lamb saved Israel from the plague of death which brought about their freedom from slavery in Egypt, so the blood of Christ, our Passover Lamb, saves us from death and frees us from slavery to sin and Satan.

The Feast of Unleavened Bread

The very next day the Feast of Unleavened Bread began. Israelites were required to remove all leaven from their homes for eight days. This feast was symbolic of how Christ has cleansed us from the leaven of sin.Read More »Christ, the Firstfruits, Is Risen!

Why Do You Weep?

The early hours of that first Easter morning found people in various conditions.

Most of Jerusalem slept soundly, while their religious leaders may have had satisfied smiles on their faces. But fear, shock, and confusion permeated the hearts of the Lord’s disciples. They were stupefied and in mourning because of His death. None of them believed in His resurrection.

And while they all mourned, John reported the dedicated weeping of Mary Magdalene. Read More »Why Do You Weep?

Witnesses of an Empty Tomb

On that first Easter morning the soldiers guarding Jesus’ tomb saw the angel come and roll away the stone, but they squandered the opportunity to be powerful witnesses and took the bribe to remain silent.

“You are witnesses of these things.” (Luke 24:48)

Mary Magdalene’s heart overflowed with love for her Lord—first in weeping as she witnessed the empty tomb and then with rejoicing after she met her living Savior.

On Easter evening Jesus appeared to the disciples who were gathered behind locked doors. First of all, He assured them that He was not a ghost and then“He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures” Read More »Witnesses of an Empty Tomb