I believe in the resurrection of Jesus. This has great magnitude for my life. Because He came to earth in flesh, died and was resurrected, I am free from everything that would have me bound. I am saved from sin and the death of hell, and I am promised eternal life. This hope is something worth talking about.
I recently had Travis Barton on my Podcast. Travis is a missionary to Mexico, partnering with Feed My Lambs, International. He is a singer/songwriter as well. I was given the privilege of helping him translate a couple of his songs, and he has recently posted a YouTube video of him singing live, one called "Crucificado" to the outreach to the small community of Tierra Blanca I have included the YouTube live English version as well. The song is a hauntingly lovely reminder of our reason for worshiping Jesus Christ.
"Tierra Blanca, Mexico is a community that suffered an earthquake about a month and a half ago. Thru out the community people built make shift homes out of pallets and other scrap material next to rubble that use to be their homes. We had an opportunity to minister to this community and saw a great response to the gospel."- Travis Barton, from his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/travisbartonmusic
1 Corinthians 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us who are saved it is the power of God.
The video I uploaded last night on the Resurrection and Divinity of Christ was slow in loading, but I think that Peter's sermon in Acts two clearly illustrates the way that the resurrection is integral to salvation. As Christians, we can not afford to walk away from the foundational truths of Christianity. The Blood, and the Cross, and saving Grace will never go out of style.
Looking at the video of Travis singing in Mexico, I am struck with the sight of men, women, and children in other lands and tongues, hearing about the crucifixion of Jesus the Christ. The Gospel should not be limited to those who walk our walk and talk our talk. It is beautiful to see the Gospel transcending languages and cultures, like on the day of Pentecost. We have something real here, this thing called salvation is a precious commodity that needs to be shared, not stocked. Carry it wherever you go, and share it with all you meet.
Discussion of the Bible fact of the resurrection and divinity of Jesus Christ, as an integral part of both the Christian faith and salvation. Reading from Acts 2:22-40
The video is available below and on my YouTube channel. It is also available in Podcast audio mp3 on the Podcast page at http://reason2believehim.libsyn.com/ or on the player below the video here. The Video is now available.
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"I Choose to Praise You"
Used by permission from Mark Snyder
Written by Mark Snyder of Tree Hill Collective
Vocals by Helene Immel
Tree Hill Collective’s music may be purchased at:
Matthew 8:24 And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep.
I checked all the cupboards, the pantry, the closets in my soul and it appears my head is empty. Sorry, we're closed tonight. I'm having to shift quite a bit of gears to grow accustomed to the college thing with my son. I took a forced nap :) when I got home today...just sort of passed out for a few hours in the recliner comatose. And, now I woke up with nothing on my mind but the screen-saver. I'm drawing a blank. But, the verse above is lovely. Jesus was tired, washed out. So he went to sleep. What would Jesus do in this situation? I think He would go to bed. So, look for something tomorrow night.
Goodnight and God bless you!
I have given and been given gifts over the course of my years that have been life changing; for both me and the other person involved in the transaction. There are meaningless transactions and there are significant exchanges. The old saying, "It's the thought that counts," has more truth than we realize. Have you ever regifted...three decades after receiving a gift? If you have, then you get my meaning. My life has been quite transient, changing perhaps. I have not held onto many things from my youth. But, I do have a few things in a trunk: letters, pictures, books, gifts. This means that the ones I held onto were important enough to be held onto by me. This is saying a lot. I have never had much of value in objects, and I have never found much value in objects. So, the tiny little dolls I held onto for 30 years, and then gave to a child could be said to be gifts of love, though they were re-gifted.
One was a precious little German doll. I remember seeing it in the drugstore my Mother shopped in regularly. They gave "Professional Dollars," little paper coupon type collectors items to children proportional to the amount spent by the parent. My Mom gave these to me and I collected them until I had enough to buy something... eventually the doll. So, it made me feel happy to be able to give something of such value... though it may have been cheap at the store, it was valued by me. Also, I have given gifts that were quite expensive and meant nothing to me. I did not value the giving, and did it out of obligation.
The point I am making is that value is in the giving, and the receiving. One of my favorite authors said,
"If instead of a gem, or even a flower, we should cast the gift of a loving thought into the heart of a friend, that would be giving as the angels give." ~George MacDonald
The TED Talk above by Stacey Kramer is a spectacular truth that we often fail to understand. We often joke about wanting to return some of the "gifts" that God has given us, and some gifts are not non-refundable. So, looking at it from this perspective now, what gifts do you value most in your life? Not the trinkets, or appliances, or musical equipment. Not the clothing, cars, or even college education funds. But, what life altering circumstance has been placed in your path that you have learned to value? Thank the Giver for the gift.
2 Corinthians 9:15 Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.
In this verse, the word unspeakable means not expounded, or not explained. This is the gift that Stacey Kramer is talking about above. Those things that are unexplained are simply blessings and gifts that are unidentified. They are still in the package. Mystery gifts, not because we don't see them, but because we don't know why they are here, or how they got here. Idiopathic Gifts. Fortunately, the mystery always unravels in the end, and retrospective reveals a greater purpose in every life.
Being stuck on words, as I often am, I find words capture me easily. Access is one of those words. I like the word because of the double c's and double s's. I like the way that the two c's make a different sound. The first c says "k" and the second c says "s," being influenced by the s's after the e. I like it because there seems to be no real consonants in the word. Just those c's and s's, and they are really quite wimpy consonants. They don't really even have their own sound. "S" just rattles like a snake, and "c" can't make up it's mind if it wants to sound like an "s" or a "k." So, the vowels aren't getting much help. It's almost a non word... a whisper. Just kidding around with you a little here... a little. Seriously though, I like the word access because of the picture it paints. It's like an open door. I can see a key in my hand.
Romans 5:1-2 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Another such picturesque phrase in this passage is the word-picture of Paul "standing in grace." I have always liked the pictures words paint in your head. I always see myself standing knee-deep in grace when I read this. (By the way, for those of you who heard me read it aloud tonight, I meant Romans- not Galatians. I realized after listening to the recording that I had said Galatians aloud as I read it. I guess I was just too anxious to read, and got ahead of myself. I do like to read aloud :)
Another word I like, is sustain. In Spanish you can say sostenme Dios en tu gracia... or sustain me God in your grace. I like the Spanish the most because it rolls off your tongue when you say sostenme. It sounds like suspend, or holding me up, and I can see God carrying me in His arms, holding me up. So, here I am, supported by Grace and God's arms. What better place is there to be? Sustain me in Grace, Jesus.
Deep in prayer, walking in short steps around the perimeter of the crowded room, the man cried out desperately to His God. "Jesus, where are you?! You said we should wait, but we have been waiting ten days in this tiny room. The men are afraid to come and go. We cower like dogs, and have no vision for what we should do next. I don't know why you chose me. Am I not a fisherman, an uneducated fisherman? What will you have me to do?"
As he passed the doorway, he heard the shuffling of feet on the stairs. His heart skipped a beat as he heard the knock at the door. But, the voice of Philip's oldest girl came softly through the wall. It was the four of them returning from the Temple. He was amazed that some of the women continued to come and go; to the market to fetch their meals, to the well to haul water, and to the Temple to pray. Yes, it was about 9:00 in the morning already, and here they were returning. As he unbarred the door, they slipped inside and took up their spots with the others in the vigil. He noticed the younger child take up her harp, and she began to strum softly the words of David.
...The LORD said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand,
...until I make your enemies your footstool.
...The LORD will extend your powerful kingdom from Jerusalem;
...you will rule over your enemies.
...Your people are willing
...in the day of your power,
...in the beauty of holiness
...from the womb of the morning
...your strength will renew us each day like the morning dew.
...The LORD has sworn, and will not relent, You are a priest forever, Jesus...
A hush fell over the room as the words and music of the child faded and the sunlight, now climbing in the sky, flooded through the darkened window. It was a holy hush, an unseen hand seemed to lay gently on every stooped shoulder. A sigh wrenched loose from Mother Mary. John fell flat on his face, prostrate in the floor. But no one seemed to take notice of his brother. Peter suddenly broke into a mad dash around the room, and the others were waving their arms toward heaven as the Spirit of God was poured out in their hearts and souls. The visible, tangible presence of God was so real, you could almost touch it. The room was suddenly in such a passionate fervor that it seemed like tongues of fire rested over their heads. Everyone in the room began to praise God and speak in languages they had never learned.
The men were the first ones out the door of the crowded room. They danced down the steps and out into the streets which were bustling with the mid-morning festival crowds of the Pentecost Feast celebrating the giving of the Ten Commandments. Some called this Whit's Sunday. But, the locals were taken by surprise by the surge of the Apostles out into the streets, shouting in gibberish. Some of them exclaimed that these were apparently celebrating the holiday too hard and were drunk. But, others recognized their own foreign languages coming from the mouths of these worshipers, and realized they were speaking different tongues.
Peter gathered the other 11 disciples together and, like any anointed young preacher without a pulpit will preach wherever he can find a crowd, he began to preach right there on the street corner.
"Men, brothers, we are not drunk on wine. It's not even late enough in the day for men to be drinking yet. This is the promise that God gave us in the Scriptures, in the prophecies of Joel. Joel said that God would pour out His Holy Spirit on all people, and our sons and daughters would prophesy, and our young men would see visions, and our old men would dream dreams. He promised signs and wonders would follow, and that whoever shall call on the name of the Lord will be saved."
Peter preached on with the sun beating down on his back, on into the afternoon. Sweat poured from his forehead, as he danced in the Spirit, calling on each person in the crowd to come to pray. One by one, the men in the crowd came forward and fell on their knees before the Apostles asking what to do about their sin. Peter stood up and gave the answer...
"Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."
By the time the day had ended, three thousand of them had been baptized. But, more than that, the long awaited power that Jesus had promised had now been given. No more did they cower in a hidden room. No, these men of God were emboldened to preach the word without fear. Just as Jesus had promised, "But you shall receive power, after the Holy Spirit has come upon you: and you shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. "
Scripture References as follows:
The Harp Song Psalm 110:1-4 (NKJV+NLT mixed)
Peter's answer Acts 2:38,
Jesus' parting promise Acts 1:8
Acts 2:1-2 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
Heads bent together, the four slender girls stumbled along the road, so lost in a discussion that they really were not watching where they were going. They were sisters, and the children of a prophet. Their father, Philip was chosen as a Deacon by the early church in Jerusalem, one of the seven deacons. There had been death threats. It was no surprise that they were concerned about the safety of their father. But, their father was not the subject of conversation on this trip to the temple. As they approached the Golden Gate, the beauty went unnoticed, as well as the lovely sunrise peeking over the horizon, which gave it that golden glow.
"A sad state of affairs it is for our people when the men folk are all in hiding!" the youngest of these young ladies exclaimed.
"I don't think you fully understand the nature of a death threat, Sister." Her eldest sister chided her calmly. "Besides, God has a plan, and I know he is thinking about His people. He promised in the prophecies of Joel that He would send a 'former and a latter rain' to bless us with His bounty."
"Yes, piped up the nearest the youngest in years." All we have to do is plant the seed, and God will send the Autumn rains first to make it sprout, and then in the Spring, the Spring rains He send make the harvest a bounty of providence."
The remaining sister listened quietly, seeming to ponder these words. She didn't know how to ask the question that was sitting so heavily on her heart. She was puzzled over the fact that the Messiah had been crucified, and resurrected, and then had ascended back into the clouds, just like that. So she just listened, as they were jostled in the crowds coming and going.
"But, God promised He would 'drive away the Northern armies.' Why do these Romans continue to plague us?! Oh, how could God be so late in sending us the hope we've waited for? Why did Jesus leave again, if He was resurrected from the grave? When will we ever see the throne of David raised again in the Temple! Why must it take so long?!" protested the youngest child again.
These four young girls had a reputation for being prophetesses, yet something missed their vision even more than the Scripture they were mulling over at the moment. Suddenly, the silent one found herself flung out on the pavement there at the gate. Dazed, and not yet aware of what had happened, she tried to focus her eyes on the scene around her again, when she realized it was just the crippled beggar who lay at the gate. She had fallen over his feet and knocked over his hat full of coins in her carelessness.
Scurrying onto her knees, with her robes wrapped tightly around her, she began to clasp after the coins as they rolled across the pavement, muttering repeated apologies. Her sisters around her pulled her to her feet without saying a word, for now they had been shocked into silence. There sat the poor beggar just as calmly as if nothing had happened. He had not felt a thing anyways, seeing that his legs were paralyzed. But, he had been just as taken by surprise by them as they had by him. He had heard their approach, but was so engrossed in their argument that he sat there aghast at the things they were saying. Such innocent looking young Jewish girls arguing about the prophecies of the scrolls. And, they were talking about Jesus, the Healer. What did they know about Jesus or a Messiah? They were not even allowed into the inner sanctuary, but were kept behind the wall of partition for the women. How could they speak such things so boldly? Didn't they know the Romans had crucified this Jesus, and that they had the power to dispel these 'stories' of His resurrection?
The eldest girl reached into the folds of her robes withdrew the few coins she had and tossed them into the man's hat. Then with a humble bow, and diverting her stare, she gathered her sisters through the gate. But, glancing back over her shoulder, she noticed he still sat there as if nothing had even happened. Turning again to her sisters, she reminded them of the hour. "It's the hour of prayer, come on now, hurry! All of these questions will just have to wait!"
***Author's notes: You may have noticed that this story is part of a series I am writing for the Day of Pentecost, which is this Sunday.
The first three in the set were: Power Play... A Waiting Game The Powerless Can Only Wait What Do You Do When You Wait?
Come back tomorrow night for my special culmination of the series on the Power of Pentecost.
Related Scriptures used to build the telling.
Joel 2:23 Be glad then, you children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for he has given you the former rain faithfully, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month. (NKJV)
Acts 3:25 You are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in your descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed. (NKJV)
Acts 21:8-9 The next day we went on to Caesarea and stayed at the home of Philip the Evangelist, one of the seven men who had been chosen to distribute food. He had four unmarried daughters who had the gift of prophecy. (NLT)
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. (NKJV)
Interview with Robert Caldwell, a local Children’s Pastor and young minister who visited an orphanage in Haiti this month. Robert talks about the journey that is salvation, taking responsibility for the fatherless next door, and around the world, and leading those who don't know their Heavenly Father to a relationship with Jesus. And, he shares some more tangible ways in which we can "visit" the fatherless. Tonight's Podcast is available on the Podcast page at http://reason2believehim.libsyn.com/ or on the player below. Also, I have compiled a video of Robert's mission photos.
"I Choose to Praise You"
Used by permission from Mark Snyder
Written by Mark Snyder of Tree Hill Collective
Vocals by Helene Immel
Tree Hill Collective’s music may be purchased at:
"Faithful" by Calvary Chapel Saving Grace
Public Domain music
The modern worship songs are copyrighted by the artist but can be freely shared. The Hymn files are all placed in the public domain.
Amid the deafening silence, and the crowded bodies clustered around the small room, the men all stared as if by consensus at the one empty spot where he had sat. No one mentioned the spot for a time. They just sat there smothered in the gloom of the memories of all that had transpired. They were angry; each of them. This wolf in sheep's clothing had lived among them. He had carried the bag. He knew them well. He had been with them when they ate the dropped gleanings from the fields of the Israelites, as allowed for the poor, like homeless men.
No one thought about Thomas' doubting, or Peter's denial, or the way John Mark fled from the garden naked when the guards showed up to take Jesus in for trial. It was easier to bear the waiting without looking at their own faults. Jesus was gone, and surely someone else was to blame. This missing spot weighed so heavily on their minds, when they weren't in prayer that the only action they took was to replace Judas, the betrayer. Yes, they wanted to make sure that his post was given to another. That's exactly what he deserved, as the prophecies stated.
Acts 1:13-14 And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas the brother of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.
Nothing is recorded in history about Matthias. We hear about the ministries and deaths of the other 11, and about Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles. Isn't that odd? Paul replaced Judas. Paul took the empty seat. Paul counted himself as one born out of season. He planted more churches than all the others, and wrote two-thirds of the New Testament. And, he figured in the telling of about half of the book of Acts. But, nowhere do we see Jesus' response to the men waiting in the Upper Room.
All we know was Jesus said wait. The only action they took was to vote on a replacement for Judas. This is neither commanded, nor rebuked, but simply a human decision based on a desire to speed their interpretation of Scripture. They wanted to see his post taken by another. And, they drew straws. Though not considered right, nor wrong, the action showed impatience when told to simply wait.
He laid there squinting his eyes against the sun that was beginning to rise in the sky, outside the beautiful Golden Gate on the eastern side of the temple. They had to carry him so far to get to the temple every morning, that by the time he arrived, he was disheveled, and tired already. No matter. He had time to rest now, as he was powerless to move any further than he could drag his dead worthless legs. He had all the time in the world, like a prisoner sentenced to chains, his days had been arrested from birth, born crippled, a man child. And, what kind of man was he?
One of the passers-by stopped at that moment and tossed a coin in his hat, before shuffling along through the busy gate. Here he lay outside the gate, and here he saw all the most newsworthy events of his day. That perhaps was all that he was valued for, the news that he brought back home to his mother's household. He was reduced to a groveling, begging, newsboy, and the gossip was likely more valuable to those who listened to him than the measly few coins he contributed to his upkeep.
As he lay there on the lovely stonework, watching the well-dressed men and women come and go, he marveled at what it must be like, the independence of walking about; what it must be like to go beyond Solomon's Porch, on beyond the Court of the Women. What would it be like to be able to take his place there with the men of Israel? He was sure he might never know. He had hoped for a while, at least when he had heard news of the Healer who had been in town. He laid there waiting almost every day of his life, over four decades, just waiting for the day to end. This Healer never seemed to appear. Then suddenly He knew the man was coming through, could tell from the noise, and the shouts of Hosanna, yet then he hadn't been able to see Him there for the crowd. Oh, but he heard all about how he had ridden right past him on a donkey. He had been proclaimed as the long-awaited Messiah by many. But, he hadn't seen anything at all. Then he had heard of the crucifixion. Any hopes he had maintained had fizzled out after news reached him of the violent execution.
Raising his hands and extending them out before him, he marked off the hours remaining to the day. Ooohhh! It would never end. He hated the waiting more than anything. And, what was he waiting for anyways? Would he ever have the power and strength to walk away from this gate? Or, was he waiting for another day just like today?
Acts 3:2 And a certain man lame from his mother's womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple;