“The God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus” (Hebrews 13:20).
Two people talking for some time came to the subject of resurrection and one said, “I don’t believe in that. I don’t think it is reasonable nor possible. I think that when you are dead you are dead and that’s it.”
Abruptly the other one said, “Where were you one hundred years ago?”
Surprised and falteringly the first replied, “I-I don’t know; why?”
“You are here now, aren’t you?” the second man said.
“Yes, yes I am,” he answered.
“Well, I’ll tell you,” said the second man. “The One who brought you into being the first time can just as easily raise you up from the dead.”
Resurrection is true and God has given the following information: “According to the working of His mighty power, Which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 1:19-20).
On February 15, 1947 Glenn Chambers boarded a plane bound for Quito, Ecuador to begin his ministry in missionary broadcasting. But he never arrived. In a horrible moment, the plane carrying Chambers crashed into a mountain peak and spiralled downward. Later it was learned that before leaving the Miami airport, Chambers wanted to write his mother a letter. All he could find for stationery was a page of advertising on which was written the single word “WHY?” Around that word he hastily scribbled a final note. After Chambers’ mother learned of her son’s death, his letter arrived. She opened the envelope, took out the paper, and unfolded it. Staring her in the face was the question “WHY?”
There may be things that happen in your life this week, and you may never know WHY they happened. But there is comfort in knowing that it is all for a purpose of blessing, and a time when, “Thou shalt know hereafter” (John 13:7).
“Christ also suffered for us…Who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth: Who, when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not; but committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously: Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed” (1 Peter 2:21-24).
If you were to look at the Dutch artist Rembrandt van Rijn’s famous painting of The Three Crosses, your attention would be drawn first to the center cross on which the Lord Jesus died. Then as you would look at the crowd gathered around the foot of that cross, you’d be impressed by the various facial expressions and actions of the people involved in the awful crime of crucifying the Son of God. Finally, your eyes would drift to the edge of the painting and catch sight of another figure, almost hidden in the shadows. Art critics say this is a representation of Rembrandt himself, for he recognized that by his sins he helped nail Jesus to the cross.
What a wonderful thing it is to be able to say, “He died for me.”
An item in the May 2, 1985, Kansas City Times reminds us of a story you may be able to use in an evangelistic message. The item had to do with the attempt by some fans of O. Henry, the short-story writer, to get a pardon for their hero, who was convicted in 1898 of embezzling $784.08 from the bank where he was employed. But O. Henry had died in 1910, 75 years before this attempt to get a pardon for him, you cannot give a pardon to a dead man. A pardon can only be given to someone who can accept it.
Here’s a different story illustrating a similar point. Back in 1830 George Wilson was convicted of robbing the U.S. Mail and was sentenced to hang. President Andrew Jackson issued a pardon for Wilson, but he refused to accept it. The matter went to Chief Justice Marshall, who concluded that Wilson would have to be executed. “A pardon is a slip of paper,” wrote Marshall, “the value of which is determined by the acceptance of the person to be pardoned. If it is refused, it is no pardon. George Wilson must be hanged.”
For some, the pardon comes too late. For others, the pardon is not accepted. God is ready and able to pardon you now! “For He will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:7).
“Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God” (Daniel 6:5).
One hundred and twenty princes and three presidents (of which Daniel was the first), ruled over the Kingdom of Darius. These men were undoubtedly some of the most gifted men in the world, brilliant intellectuals and administratively able to make momentous decisions and carry them through. Daniel, God’s man, stood above them all. Jealousy spurred them to try to get rid of him forever, and so this group, all 122 of them, set as their task to find fault with him. Yet after sifting through his life with utmost scrutiny, all they could find fault with was his faithful prayer life to his God and obedience to His God.
If our lives were scrutinized would this be all that our accusers would find? Would the unbelievers that you go to school or work with have to admit that the only thing they have against you, is that you are a Christian? That would be quite a testimony, wouldn’t it?
“The water gate toward the east, and the tower that lieth out” (Nehemiah 3:26).
Water is often used in Scripture as a figure of the Word of God. This gate would then remind us of the need for the Word of God in our lives. Later on we read of Ezra at the water gate reading from the Law of the Lord (The Word of God): “And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law” (Nehemiah 8:3).
We certainly need this in our lives every day. It is “the washing of water by the Word” (Ephesians 5:26). “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to Thy Word (Psalm 119:9). How much time and space do we give to the reading of our Bibles? And how much importance do we place on giving it its rightful place in our day to day lives?
It is the one gate that did not need to be repaired, as the Word of God is perfect, and “liveth and abideth forever” (1 Peter 1:23). The Word of God is unchangeable!
The following account shows how the Lord is in full control of every detail of our lives:
The young men were taken directly from the school to the National Service training camp. Life became tough. The only bright spot was on Lord’s Day mornings when the Christians were able to meet together to read the Bible, pray, sing, and encourage each other in the Lord. Then came the shattering blow—a new commanding officer. “No more religious services in the camp,” he shouted on his first Monday on duty. The young men were heartsick, but they took the matter to a higher authority—they prayed earnestly! Before the end of the week this godless officer was transferred. He had lasted only a week, but the Lord’s Day gatherings continued without a break.
King Solomon wrote, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever He will” (Proverbs 21:1). It is a great comfort to know that there is one who is in full control of every event and circumstance of our life. He knows, He cares, and He is working everything for our good and blessing. Let’s learn to trust Him more!
“Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” (Matthew 6:34).
I recently was handed a piece of paper from a block calendar, and on that page was a motto which had a very thought-provoking message. It said:
does not empty tomorrow of its troubles!
It empties today of its
It brought to mind today’s verse, which, put very simply, is telling us to live for Christ today and leave tomorrow in His hands. Often we worry about things we think are going to happen tomorrow, but when tomorrow comes they never do. Even if they do, the Lord is still sufficient. “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever” (Hebrews 13:8). Has He helped us in the past? Will He be any different tomorrow? Why are we worrying?
Have you ever felt overwhelmed? Recently I felt that way due to some circumstances in my life. The difficulty is that we often measure the problems and situations in relation to ourselves, instead of measuring everything in relation to the Lord…The Almighty! He is greater than our troubles, and greater than our failures. Here is a helpful verse of Scripture: “From the end of the earth will I cry unto Thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I” (Psalm 61:2).
Let’s be overcomers, not be overcome. Caleb is an example of a man who was not only an overcomer himself, but encouraged others to be overcomers. “And Caleb stilled the people…and said…we are well able to overcome” (Numbers 13:30). The Lord reminded the disciples: “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
No matter what you face this week, the Lord is greater, and in His strength you can be an overcomer!
“O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together” (Psalm 34:3).
There are two primary functions of a magnifying lens:
1. To make small objects larger.
2. To bring distant objects closer.
These things are also two excellent exercises for the believer. The world views Christ as a small and insignificant thing (as did Israel with the manna in the wilderness, Numbers 21:5). I can, by my life, however, show how very much He means to me, and just how important He really is.
I can also help to bring a “distant” Christ personally closer to my own soul, and to others as well. Let’s be like David, who, when he considered the Lord in comparison to himself and anyone else, said, “Let the Lord be magnified” (Psalm 35:27).
Let’s bring Him closer today, and as we once again examine His person and work, like Mary, we too can say, “My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior” (Luke 1:46-47).