Holy Week: 7 Sayings of Christ with B.C. 2001

Holy Week: 7 Sayings of Christ with B.C. 2001

A few years ago, I came across an inspiring cartoon in my "Easter" file (See enlarged image below).  I think my husband John, who had been the family reader of the Sunday funnies in years gone by, cut it out and gave it to me back in April 2001.  So there in my file, this little treasure has been tucked away for all these years.

For those of you who have been following the Lenten Meditations on a branch in the Vine, this piece serves as a fitting climax during Holy Week.

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Joy in January: Dance for your Life!

Joy in January: Dance for your Life!

Life, glorious life!  How we take life for granted, until...

someone we love dies,

our health or safety is gravely threatened,

we realize our days are waning because of the years...

It is then that we value what we've had all along.

But there's a Life that we never need fear will diminish, be endangered, be lost...

In fact, this Life can grow in our experience even in this time-based, fearful, waning physical life.

What is this Life?

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Arrested by the Risen Christ: Brenda's Story

Arrested by the Risen Christ:  Brenda's Story

Every Easter I think of family and friends who have died in Christ.  Somewhere and sometime on their earthly journey they each met the Risen Christ in a unique way...some quite dramatically, some softly and quietly.

During this Easter week, I'd like to tell you about a friend who was arrested by the Risen Christ.  She's virtually unknown, except by those whose lives she touched.  Her name is Brenda.

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Resurrection ZOE -- the Dance of LIFE!

Resurrection ZOE -- the Dance of LIFE!

Easter isn't Easter unless it's Easter to YOU!

So declared a radio preacher early in Holy Week a few years ago. At first I said, "Yes!"  Then I thought about it awhile and said, "Not really! Easter is Easter whether I get it or not."

What is Easter anyway? Easter is the day we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection from the grave. He had conquered sin and death on the cross and then was raised, so that we could walk in newness of life. (cf. Romans 6:4)

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Daily Dying for Daily Living

dying to live

dying to live

I'm dying...little by little...not just physically (aren't we all because we are aging?), but also in many  and various ways. Everyday I die in some way, emotionally, volitionally, relationally, physically, occupationally or... My dreams may die.  My goals may crash to the ground and take me with them.  Right now, I'm going through a bit of that with the death of a vision.

Are you dying too, dear friend?

If you are living on this sin cursed earth, you too are dying every day.

But there's company...and there's hope.  Let's talk about it...

We are in good company.  The apostle Paul died every day.  Listen to his words from Holy Writ:

I die daily...

...always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus...

...we are afflicted in every way,...perplexed,...persecuted,...struck down,...always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus...For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake...So death works in us..." ...that I may know...the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death... (1 Cor 15:14; 2 cor 4:10, 7-11: Phil 3:10 NASB)

And Jesus Himself said,

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone... (John 12:24 NASB)

What is dying?  Death means separation. Physical death is separation of the body from the spirit.

But there are other separations, aren't there?  In the sense we are talking about, there is separation from our our dreams, our desires, our self-life...our self-will, our self-determination, our self-effort, our self-absorption...You get the idea!

death & resurrection

death & resurrection

Our self-determined dreams and visions and projects need to die.  And even the God-given ones must be placed on the altar.  Why? So that the Living God can resurrect HIS Life from the deadness of our flesh-tainted existence apart from Him!

And that's our hope. And a great hope it is!

Here's the rest of the story:

...that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. (Phil 3:10-11 NASB)

...always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. (2 Cor 4:10 NASB)

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the lifeof Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death works in us, but life in you. (2 Cor 4:7-11 NASB)

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. (John 12:24-25 NASB)

Knowing Christ! Touching HIM! That is Life indeed!

Join me, O dying friend, in this prayer of relinquishment:

Dear Lord,  we gladly (though painfully) die, even to our current projects and dreams...that we may know You, Whom to know is life eternal...this day and every day!  We freely turn from our self-determination and self-absorption and joyfully give...

Glory to You Steve Green

What do I possess That You did not give to me? What mysteries are clear to me That You did not explain? When did I share truth I had not received from You? What good works have I performed That You did not ordain?

Chorus Any strength I have Any good I do Comes from the life I found in You So in all I am And in all I do I give the glory to You

How do I express My love and may gratitude? For all I am and ever will be All depends on You Where in the world would I be Had You not reached out to me? All the good I have in life Can all be traced to You

(Chorus)

From the strength to obey Your Word when I hear it To reaching out in love It’s all a gift of the Holy Spirit, Coming from above

(Chorus)

I give the glory to You


A Better Resurrection

Kenya, africa
Kenya, africa

It was just a week ago that we heard the story of students having been massacred at a university in Kenya.  We were stunned but not surprised!  Radical Islamic terrorists made their mark again!

But I would venture to guess, few of us have heard the following story of hope and deliverance in the name of Jesus.  At least, I hadn't until I received an email from our brother in the Lord, Sammy Maina.  Sammy is a pastor of a small congregation in Nairobi.  (I posted his personal story of faith last year at Easter time.)

I was overjoyed to learn about the Lord's rescue, all because of the courage of the indwelling Christ in and through one young student.  Here is Sammy's account in his own words:

These are the last of the last days and seeing ugly scenes are inevitable as happened when 147 people were killed in a college in my country by terrorists last week. The word of God must be fulfilled.
A man within the group of students attacked told the attackers that he would not denounce Christ just because they held a gun at him. He held his bible in a room that had others in dozens while saying these words. He said if God had seen it fit for him to die by the gun so be it! But he was not ready to denounce that Jesus is his Lord. These words from him made the gunman to shiver and his mind seemed to have been taken away from what he intended to do. He stood for a while just guessing amid the frightened faces of many in that cubicle, save for this bold young man. He asked them all in that cubicle to flee for their lives as fast as they could, not firing a single bullet at them.  Thus this group of people that had hidden in that cubicle were all saved because of one man whose mind has been made up fully to live and die for Jesus Christ.
Christ the Messiah of God is the holder of our destiny. He knows our purpose for our living and what mission we must accomplish. If we have full trust in Him, we cannot perish if the reason of our coming is not fully met. We live predestined lives and our part is just to walk the path of that road as a train would move on a railway with its driver, less bothered about its motion for he is more than sure it is on the right track. I hear too that in  aeroplanes, pilots would after reaching some heights just relax and take coffee as the plane just moves on its predestined air route. The Lord is faithful!

We all are part of something bigger than ourselves, aren't we?

I can't help but think of what I call my

worldview passage

, Hebrews 11 & 12.  There we read of believer after believer who lived by faith.  Sometimes good things happened as they walked by faith, but sometimes "bad" things happened as they walked by faith.

But no matter what the outcome, they persevered by faith.  I especially love the following passage:

[By faith]

Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection.  Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— the world was not worthy of them.
Hebrews 11:35-38 NIV

Sammy
Sammy

That Kenyan student was hoping for a better resurrection as he stood firm in his allegiance to Christ.  The world is not worthy of such as him. May we be encouraged to hold on to the reigning King of the world, our Lord Jesus Christ, no matter the outcome on this earth...by faith!

He's Alive! Still!

Empty tomb, Peter & John running
Empty tomb, Peter & John running

Peter's story...and ours?* He's Alive!

The gates and doors were barred All the windows fastened down I spent the night in sleeplessness And rose at every sound

Half in hopeless sorrow And half in fear the day Would find the soldiers breakin’ through To drag us all away

And just before the sunrise Heard something at the wall The gate began to rattle And a voice began to call

Hurried to the window Looked down into the street Expecting swords and torches And the sound of soldier’s feet

There was no one there but Mary So I went down to let her in John stood there beside me As she told us where she’d been

She said they’ve moved Him in the night And none of us knows where The stones been rolled away And now His body isn’t there

We both ran toward the garden Then John ran on ahead We found the stone and the empty tomb Just the way that Mary said

Empty tomb, peter
Empty tomb, peter

But the winding sheet they wrapped Him in Was just an empty shell And how or where they’d taken Him Was more than I could tell

Well, something strange had happened there Just what I did not know John believed a miracle But I just turned to go

Circumstance and speculation Couldn’t lift me very high ‘Cause I’d seen them crucify Him Then I saw Him die

Back inside the house again The guilt and anguish came Everything I’d promised Him Just added to my shame

When at last it came to choices I denied I knew His name Even if He was alive It wouldn’t be the same

Suddenly the air was filled With strange and sweet perfume Light that came from everywhere Drove shadows from the room

Jesus stood before me With His arms held open wide And I fell down on my knees And just clung to Him and cried

He raised me to my feet And as I looked into His eyes Love was shining out from Him Like sunlight from the skies

Guilt in my confusion Disappeared in sweet release And every fear I’d ever had Just melted into peace

He’s alive, He’s alive He’s alive and I’m forgiven Heaven’s gates are open wide

empty tomb
empty tomb

He’s alive, He’s alive He’s alive and I’m forgiven Heaven’s gates are open wide

He’s alive, He’s alive He’s alive and I’m forgiven Heaven’s gates are open wide He’s alive, He’s alive, He’s alive

* Thanks to Frank Viola for sharing this song on his blog Beyond Evangelical

Walking in Present Risenness

When I was at the University of Arizona in the late 60's & early 70"s, the "Jesus movement" was in full swing.  A song that we always sang during praise time at our Christian student meetings in those days was "He Lives". This song grabbed me!  The concept of a living Christ who intimately related to me on a daily basis was just beginning to dawn on me.  Look at the words to this glorious song:

mom & me walking
mom & me walking

I serve a risen Saviour He's in the world today; I know that He is living, Whatever men may say; I see His hand of mercy, I hear His voice of cheer, And just the time I need Him He's always near.

Chorus: He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today! He walks with me and He talks with me Along life's narrow way. He lives, He live, salvation to impart! You ask me how I know He lives: He lives within my heart.

In all the world around me I see His loving care, And tho my heart grows weary I never will despair; I know that He is leading Thro' all the stormy blast, The day of His appearing Will come at last.

Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian, Lift up your voice and sing Eternal hallelujahs To Jesus Christ the King! The hope of all who seek Him, The help of all who find, None other is so loving, So good and kind.

Brennan Manning has a phrase that I love...living in Present Risenness.  In his precious book The Rabbi's Heartbeat, he says:

We are not cowed into timidity by death and life.  Were we forced to rely on our own shabby resources we would be pitiful people indeed.  But the awareness of Christ's present risenness persuades us that we are buoyed up and carried on by a life greater than our own.

The Christ within who is our hope of glory is not a matter of theological debate or philosophical speculation.  He is not a hobby, a part-time project, a good theme for a book, or a last resort when all human effort fails.  He is our life, the most real fact about us.  He is the power and wisdom of God dwelling within us.

Even though the holiday we call Easter has passed, dear child of God, meditate on this glorious thought:  The Resurrected Christ is alive in your world right now.  The Living Christ lives in you today.  And this same Lord Jesus Christ lives His resurrection life through you as you walk in Present Risenness...every day!

Christ in you, the hope of glory. Col 1:27

...you have died and your life is hid with Christ in God.  When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, we shall appear with Him in glory. Col 3:3-4

...to those who are the called,...Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 1Cor 1:24

My Redeemer lives!
My Redeemer lives!

Now enjoy this rendition of "HE LIVES"...

*This was posted at Easter 2011 as Walking in Present Risenness

Holy Week: 7 Sayings of Christ with B.C. 2001

I love this post because it was such a serendipitous delight to find this clipping in my file a few years ago. So I can't help but share it year by year.

Would you meditate along with me ... and revisit Christ's seven sayings for the Cross this holy week? It's truly "holy ground" as we reflect on the Cross, what our Lord went through, but mainly, what He accomplished there. What a perfect preparation for the joy, freedom, and release of the Resurrection.

www.johnhartstudios.com.

A few years ago, I came across an inspiring cartoon in my "Easter" file.  I think my husband John (who had been the family reader of the Sunday funnies in years gone by) cut it out and gave it to me back in April 2001.  So there in my file, this little treasure has been tucked away for all these years.

For those of you who have been following the Lenten Meditations on a branch in the Vine, this piece serves as a fitting climax during Holy Week, which corresponds to Passover this year.

There's an interesting story behind this controversial cartoon.  Apparently for Easter 2001, cartoonist Johnny Hart wanted to do something special. He stated,

I noticed one day that the center section of the Menorah -- the sacred symbol of Judaism, bore the shape of the cross. I wanted everyone to see the cross in the Menorah. It was a revelation to me, that tied God's chosen people to their spiritual next of kin -- the disciples of the Risen Christ. http://www.hollywoodjesus.com/BCcomics_easter.htm

Take a look at the enlarged version below.  And then peer deeply into the empty tomb, and remember HIM!

Behold the Lamb (Communion Song)

Behold the Lamb who bears our sins away,Slain for us - and we rememberThe promise made that all who come in faithFind forgiveness at the cross.

So we share in this bread of life,And we drink of His sacrificeAs a sign of our bonds of peaceAround the table of the King.

The body of our Saviour Jesus Christ,Torn for you - eat and rememberThe wounds that heal, the death that brings us lifePaid the price to make us one.

So we share in this bread of life,And we drink of His sacrificeAs a sign of our bonds of loveAround the table of the King.

The blood that cleanses every stain of sin,Shed for you - drink and rememberHe drained death's cup that all may enter inTo receive the life of God.

So we share in this bread of life,And we drink of His sacrificeAs a sign of our bonds of graceAround the table of the King.

And so with thankfulness and faith we riseTo respond, - and to rememberOur call to follow in the steps of ChristAs His body here on earth.

As we share in His sufferingWe proclaim Christ will come again!And we’ll join in the feast of heavenAround the table of the King

Words and Music by Keith and Kristyn Getty & Stuart Townend

Devotions for Holy Week:

Perhaps for the days of Holy Week, you would like to meditate on Christ's sayings one by one.  Here is a summary of the links from our Lenten Meditations at  A Branch in the Vine.

Last Words and Conversations:

  1. Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing. Luke 23:34 -- a Word of Forgiveness
  2. I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise. Luke 23:43 -- a Word of Salvation
  3. Dear woman, here is your son...Here is your mother. John 19:26-27 -- a Word of Family Affection
  4. My God, my God, why have you forsaken Me? Matthew 27:46 -- a Word of Abandonment
  5. I am thirsty. John 19:28 -- a Word of Personal Need
  6. It is finished! John 19:30 -- a Word of Completion
  7. Father, into your hands I commit My spirit. Luke 23:46 -- a Word of Reunion

www.johnhartstudios.com.

Walking in Present Risenness

mom & me walking
mom & me walking

When I was at the University of Arizona in the late 60's & early 70's, the "Jesus movement" was in full swing.  A song that we always sang during praise time at our Christian student meetings in those days was "He Lives". This song grabbed me!  The concept of a living Christ who intimately related to me on a daily basis was just beginning to dawn on me.  Look at the words to this glorious song:

I serve a risen Saviour He's in the world today; I know that He is living, Whatever men may say; I see His hand of mercy, I hear His voice of cheer, And just the time I need Him He's always near.

Chorus: He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today! He walks with me and He talks with me Along life's narrow way. He lives, He live, salvation to impart! You ask me how I know He lives: He lives within my heart.

In all the world around me I see His loving care, And tho my heart grows weary I never will despair; I know that He is leading Thro' all the stormy blast, The day of His appearing Will come at last.

Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian, Lift up your voice and sing Eternal hallelujahs To Jesus Christ the King! The hope of all who seek Him, The help of all who find, None other is so loving, So good and kind.

road to emmaus
road to emmaus

Brennan Manning has a phrase that I love...living in Present Risenness.  In his precious book The Rabbi's Heartbeat, he says:

We are not cowed into timidity by death and life.  Were we forced to rely on our own shabby resources we would be pitiful people indeed.  But the awareness of Christ's present risenness persuades us that we are buoyed up and carried on by a life greater than our own.

The Christ within who is our hope of glory is not a matter of theological debate or philosophical speculation.  He is not a hobby, a part-time project, a good theme for a book, or a last resort when all human effort fails.  He is our life, the most real fact about us.  He is the power and wisdom of God dwelling within us.

Meditate on this glorious thought:  The Resurrected Christ is alive in your world right now.  The Living Christ lives in you today.  And this same Lord Jesus Christ lives His resurrection life through you as you walk in Present Risenness...every day!

Christ in you, the hope of glory. Col 1:27

...you have died and your life is hid with Christ in God.  When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, we shall appear with Him in glory. Col 3:3-4

...to those who are the called,...Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 1Cor 124

Now enjoy this simple, sincere rendition of "HE LIVES"...


The Rest of the Gospel: Union with Christ {a summary}

When I walk through the “gate” of salvation, I am thrilled with the revelation that my sins are forgiven through the death of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  I am now reconciled to (at peace with) God my Creator. Not only that, I am His child, born into His family (John 1:12). But it doesn’t take long before an important question/problem comes up:  how do I live the Christian life?  Because of the kind of teaching/mentoring I am exposed to (legalistic)…and/or because of the simple fact that “my flesh likes to work,” I start out on the road of trying in my own strength to live the Christian life.  Of course I try to do it to please God, seeking God’s help…hoping I have enough or the right kind of faith (because without faith I can’t please Him, Heb 11:6) and hoping I ask (pray) correctly.

But sooner or later, I start failing, getting confused and frustrated, maybe even despairing and giving up.  This goes on for years!  Finally, the truth of what has been true all along begins to break through:

I can’t live the Christian life!

         I was never meant to live it!

         Jesus is the only one who ever lived it!

         This same Jesus lives in me!  Col 1:27

         He will live the life through me, as me, if I let Him!  Gal 2:20

         That’s faith.  It’s my consent, my yielding to the Risen, indwelling Christ to live His Life in and through me as me.

It’s then at my point of desperation that God reveals to my heart that  in the eternal, unseen realm, He had immersed me (baptized me) into Christ.  My old man (my sinful self inherited from Adam) died united to Him, was buried united to Him, and arose a new creation in Him (2Cor 5:14-21).  At salvation, I had become a new person in Christ, free from the power of sin, free from the law (the legalistic, to-do list Christian should’s and ought to’s), and free from the selfish self that makes me my frame of reference for all things.  I died to all of that.  I also died to the world (the earthly system in rebellion against God), the flesh (the pull of sin within that is in rebellion against God), and the devil (God’s evil, lying, rebellious enemy, the father of all unbelievers). Romans 6, Colossians 1&2, Galatians 4-6.

Once I realize that and begin to live from that truth (“Wait a minute!  I died to __________________!”), I am then free to live in newness of life right now: the Resurrected, indwelling Jesus united to my spirit in and through my earthly life as me (Gal 2:20).  I am His vessel, His container, His instrument to show forth the life and glory of the Father in this world.

OK, that’s all well and good.  But what about the fact that I don’t feel dead and free from sin, temptation, the pull of the fleshly, material part of me?  It feels like I’m two people or someone with two natures:  a godly one that wants only Him and an ungodly one that only cares about myself and my desires and “appetites.”

The problem lies in the fact that I still have a temporal, earthly, human existence in a world suffering the consequences of sin  (Romans 8). My humanness (body & soul) is changing, fluctuating, being pulled this way and that because it is connected to the seen & temporal realm.  The sin principle still indwells my body and soul, my “members” on this earth (Romans 7). My spirit (who I really am), on the other hand, is fixed, complete, righteous, holy because it is one with God in the unseen, eternal realm.

What I still suffer while on this fallen earth are the consequences of sin:  sickness, physical death, disappointment, grief, negative emotions, etc. and the pull of sin indwelling my fleshly human nature (body & soul).  But all of that is not who I really am.  It feels like me, but it’s not!  The real me is united to Christ.  My life is hid with Christ in God in the eternal realm (Col 3:3).

God uses all of these trials and fluctuations in my soul and body to teach me to live by faith and not by sight.  Now by faith I reckon (“count on”) being dead to this sin, that lie, the other ungodly pull…and alive to God and His will!  Reckoning doesn’t make it true.  I count on it (reckon it) to be true because it is true.

And I chose to live from the truth of who I am in the eternal realm.  Then my Lord Christ can have free reign because He is my life and I am His instrument!  Hallelujah!

 

The Rest of the Gospel: One Nature (chapter 8)

Chapter 8  One Nature

Key Verse

 I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly. Galatians 2:20-21  NASB

Key Question

Am I one person or two?  Have I one nature or two?

Read chapter 8 and answer the following questions:

1. What is the theological rut that most believers fall into? What negative effect does this rut have on us?

2. How does the Line help us understand our true nature?

3. What is external appearance and experience going to always tell you about your nature? How trustworthy are these indicators?

4. Of all the examples Dan uses from Scripture concerning how we can only have one nature, which one spoke to you the most? Why?

5. Is Dan teaching sinless perfection in this chapter? Why not? What is the essence of what he is saying?

6. Why is it vital to understand that we only have one true nature? What effect might believing you have two natures have on you?

The Rest of the Gospel: One Spirit (chapter 6)

Chapter 6 One Spirit Key verse:

But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. 1 Corinthians 6:17 ESV

Key Question:

How do we live in union?

Read Chapter 6 (the old ch 7) and answer the following:

1. What is the significance to you that you are one spirit with God?

2. What does it mean that you and He remain distinct beings, yet function as one?

3. How might knowing you are one with God affect a tendency toward self-conscious living?

4. If you are the manifestor of God’s life, not the source of it, what does that say about how God wants you to live the Christian life? Cite a specific example in your life and show how this truth would apply to it.

5. How do you try to reproduce life through your own effort, like a female without a male? What fruit does it bear? Give a specific example.

6. Think about Dan’s story on pp. 82-83 about his union with Christ and his cancer. Is there a parallel situation in your life, a difficult external circumstance? What are you tempted to think about it? What does God say about it?

7. Think about this statement: “You are dead as a point of origin. Christ in you is the point of origin. He will live the life in you as you.” What is God saying to you personally about this in your life?

8. What does this chapter imply about how God loves and cherishes you?

9. Read the next to last paragraph of the chapter. How might this be an encouragement to you?

The Rest of the Gospel: Doublecross {Christ lives in you}, chapter 5

Chapter 5  Doublecross {Christ lives in you} Key Verse:

For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. Romans 5:10 ESV

Key Question:

Who lives the life?

Read Chapter 5 and answer these questions:

1. How in the Passover did God provide a picture of both the blood and the body side of the cross?

2. Give examples from your life of how, after coming to Christ, you have continued to live in Egypt.

3. How is it that Jesus is all we need to live the life? If that is true, what about the Christian disciplines? What role do they play? How does Jesus being the life affect the way we “do” all things in the Christian life?

4. What does Dan mean when, on page 59, he says that Jesus lives His life “in you, through you, as you”? What does he not mean?

5. Summarize what the Gospel of John says about the process by which Jesus lived His life. What relation does this have to how we are to live our life?

6. What does it mean to see ourselves as our point of origin, or source of life? What does it mean to see Jesus as our Source or point of origin?

7. How does seeing Jesus as our Source work in our lives? Pick something you struggled with this past week, a trial you had. What does seeing Jesus as your Source in that circumstance mean? How does that work out in your life?

8. Of what significance is it to us that the life that Jesus lives, He lives to God (Rom. 6:10)? What does it mean for us living the Christian life?

9. Why is it important to see ourselves as vessels that contain God’s life?

10. Review page 62. How can you cooperate with God in experiencing the reality of Christ as your life?

Next:  Read through chapter 6, but we won't study it until next week.  This week we will do chapter 5 & 7 together according to the authors' suggestion.

Coming Soon:  Summary of Part One -- Union With Christ (chapters 1-7)

 

Resurrection Dance...Let it Flow!

A few weeks ago, I was getting ready to teach through a difficult passage of Scripture in my weekly ladies Bible study.  I had asked the Lord to give me an easy time during the week while I was studying.  Well, from my limited human perspective, just the opposite happened.  Whatever could go "wrong," did just that! So by the end of the week, I was ready to "go over the edge!"  That's when the precious Spirit of God said to my heart,  "Abandon yourself to the lesson, and just let it flow!"  So I did, and it did, by the grace of God!

A few days later, my daughter posted the following on facebook after her zumba class at the gym:

I'm so stiff. In dance at University of Dayton I remember the instructor saying that true dancing came after learning the steps and just letting it flow. I don't think I've ever been able to do that in dance or life.

What would happen, dear friends, if we would abandon ourselves to the Risen, Indwelling Christ and just let Him flow?  What would our dance be like?  What would our life be like?  If New Covenant living means, "God does it, therefore we do it," then our life could be God dances, so we dance!

May it ever be so, O our glorious Jesus...Dancer Par Excellence!

*Click to view video

[youtuber youtube='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8KX2-J6uS-o']

We have often asserted and we affirm it yet again That no fact in History is better attested than the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead It must not be denied by any who are willing to pay the slightest respect to the testimony to their fellow men. That Jesus, who died upon the cross and was buried in the tomb of Joseph of Arimethia, did literally rise again from the dead.

This is a celebration We’re calling out to every nation to spread the word that Jesus is alive. We’re people of His Kingdom His resurrection is our Freedom For every heart, every tongue and every tribe. Woah, We will dance with the One That shines brighter than the sun Woah, We lift our eyes up and rise up. He will rise up! He’s alive He’s alive inside us We will rise up. We claim the victory, He won on Calvary Celebrate the King of Glory So rise up, People of the Lord rise up. We’re filled with Holy Fire Lifting His name is our desire and this we know His Spirit is in this place. Let nothing stand between us, We carry the love that has redeemed us. He is life abundantly given to us in grace. Woah, We will dance with the One That shines brighter than the sun. Woah, lift our eyes up and rise up. He will rise up! He’s alive He’s alive inside us We will rise up. We claim the victory, He won on Calvary Celebrate the King of Glory So rise up, People of the Lord rise up. Woah, We will dance with the One That shines brighter than the sun. Woah, lift our eyes up and rise up. He will rise up! He’s alive He’s alive inside us We will rise up. We claim the victory, He won on Calvary Celebrate the King of Glory So rise up, People of the Lord rise up. He will rise up ! He’s alive, he’s alive inside us. And we will rise up. We claim the victory, He won on Calvary Celebrate the King of Glory So rise up, People of the Lord rise up. People of the Lord rise up !

This Easter may you put all your eggs in one basket -- all your joys and fears, sadness and tears, in the one and only risen Lord.  Happy Easter! Beth Loyd Filson 2013

It is God’s will that I should cast On Him my care each day; He also bids me not to cast My confidence away.

But oh, I am so foolish That when taken unawares, I cast away my confidence And carry all my cares. T. Baird*

Resurrection Walk...Today!

When I was at the University of Arizona in the late 60's & early 70"s, the "Jesus movement" was in full swing.  A song that we always sang during praise time at our Christian student meetings in those days was "He Lives". This song grabbed me!  The concept of a living Christ who intimately related to me on a daily basis was just beginning to dawn on me.  Look at the words to this glorious song:

mom & me walking
mom & me walking

I serve a risen Saviour He's in the world today; I know that He is living, Whatever men may say; I see His hand of mercy, I hear His voice of cheer, And just the time I need Him He's always near.

Chorus: He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today! He walks with me and He talks with me Along life's narrow way. He lives, He live, salvation to impart! You ask me how I know He lives: He lives within my heart.

In all the world around me I see His loving care, And tho my heart grows weary I never will despair; I know that He is leading Thro' all the stormy blast, The day of His appearing Will come at last.

Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian, Lift up your voice and sing Eternal hallelujahs To Jesus Christ the King! The hope of all who seek Him, The help of all who find, None other is so loving, So good and kind.

Brennan Manning has a phrase that I love...living in Present Risenness.  In his precious book The Rabbi's Heartbeat, he says:

We are not cowed into timidity by death and life.  Were we forced to rely on our own shabby resources we would be pitiful people indeed.  But the awareness of Christ's present risenness persuades us that we are buoyed up and carried on by a life greater than our own.

The Christ within who is our hope of glory is not a matter of theological debate or philosophical speculation.  He is not a hobby, a part-time project, a good theme for a book, or a last resort when all human effort fails.  He is our life, the most real fact about us.  He is the power and wisdom of God dwelling within us.

Even though the holiday we call Easter has passed, dear child of God, meditate on this glorious thought:  The Resurrected Christ is alive in your world right now.  The Living Christ lives in you today.  And this same Lord Jesus Christ lives His resurrection life through you as you walk in Present Risenness...every day!

Christ in you, the hope of glory. Col 1:27

...you have died and your life is hid with Christ in God.  When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, we shall appear with Him in glory. Col 3:3-4

...to those who are the called,...Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 1Cor 1:24

My Redeemer lives!
My Redeemer lives!

Now enjoy this simple, sincere rendition of "HE LIVES"...

Music only:

*This was posted at Easter 2011 as Walking in Present Risenness

Resurrection Joy...O Happy Day!

Christ is risen!He is risen indeed!

What a reason to celebrate!  And celebrate is just what my 5 year old grandson does when he sings this, his favorite song.

Let's join Evan (and his brother Carter)...and all the saints and angels in praise to God for His glorious gift of His Risen and Reigning Son!

From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise...  Psalm 8:2

Evan & Carter...O Happy Day #1
Evan & Carter...O Happy Day #1

Happy Day by Tim Hughes

The greatest day in history, Death is beaten You have rescued me Sing it out Jesus is alive The empty cross, The empty grave Life eternal You have won the day Shout it out Jesus is aliveHe's alive

Chorus: Oh happy day, happy day You washed my sin away Oh happy day, happy day I'll never be the same Forever I am changed

When I stand, in that place Free at last, meeting face to face I am Yours Jesus You are mine Endless joy, perfect peace Earthly pain finally will cease Celebrate Jesus is aliveHe's alive

Chorus

Oh what a glorious day What a glorious way That You have saved me Oh what a glorious day What a glorious name

Chorus

What a glorious glorious day, I'll never be the same

Evan & Carter...O Happy Day #2
Evan & Carter...O Happy Day #2

Be sure to view it in the full screen...awesome!

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Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. Hebrews 13:20-21

*first posted Easter 2012

Resurrection Zoe...LIFE!

Easter Lilies
Easter Lilies

Easter isn't Easter unless it's Easter to YOU!

So declared a radiopreacher early in Holy Week.  At first I said, "YES!"

Then I thought about it a while and said, "Not really...Easter is Easter whether I get it or not!"  Now I'm rethinking the statement.

What is Easter anyway?  I remember in my confirmation catechism class learning that...

Easter is the first Sunday after the first full moon of the spring equinox.

That explains when, but WHAT is Easter?

Easter is the day we celebrate when...

Jesus rose from the grave...

conquering sin and death on the Cross on our behalf...

so that we could walk in newness of life.

EasterEggHunt-300x214
EasterEggHunt-300x214

And that's the point, isn't it?  Easter isn't about chocolate bunnies, chicks, coloring and hunting eggs, new clothes, Easter lilies and other spring flowers, and freshness.  These are

all simply pictures...metaphors, if you will, of the real deal.

And the real deal is ZOELIFE!  Jesus Himself said,

I came that they may have life[zoe, in Greek] and have it abundantly. John 10:10

How does zoe happen for you and me?

The eternal life of God is imparted as a gift to all who believe in His Son, the God-Man Jesus Christ.  He is the One who paid the penalty for our sins, so that...

when Jesus died, my sinful self died with Him; when He was buried, I was buried with Him; when He rose from the dead, I rose with Him...a new creation in Christ.

Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory. Col 3:1-4

So Easter is Easter to me because the indwelling, resurrected Christ is my ZOE!  Is He yours, dear friend?

Even as believers, though, if we are perfectly honest, we must admit that we don't always live from His indwelling, resurrected LIFE, do we?

Rather we often live as if our abilities and cleverness, our relationships (including our favorite social media), our jobs, our pet activities, and our possessions are the source of LIFE.  But of course, when looked at that way, they aren't life at all, but rather false gods and dead works.

So back again to the statement:

Easter isn't Easter unless it's Easter to YOU!

May Easter BE Easter as we refocus on our glorious, Risen Lord who indwells all who believe.

Empty tomb
Empty tomb

Prayer: May every day be Easter, O Lord, because of Your abundant, indwelling, resurrection ZOE...thank you for the precious gift of Your glorious self.  Amen!

Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!

Verse 1 How can it be, the One who died, Has borne our sin through sacrifice To conquer every sting of death? Sing, sing hallelujah. For joy awakes as dawning light When Christ’s disciples lift their eyes. Alive He stands, their Friend and King; Christ, Christ He is risen. Chorus Christ is risen, He is risen indeed! Oh, sing hallelujah. Join the chorus, sing with the redeemed; Christ is risen, He is risen indeed. Verse 2 Where doubt and darkness once had been, They saw Him and their hearts believed. But blessed are those who have not seen, Yet, sing hallelujah. Once bound by fear now bold in faith, They preached the truth and power of grace. And pouring out their lives they gained Life, life everlasting. Verse 3 The power that raised Him from the grave Now works in us to powerfully save. He frees our hearts to live His grace; Go tell of His goodness. Bridge He’s alive, He’s alive! Heaven’s gates are opened wide. He’s alive, He’s alive! Now in heaven glorified. Keith Getty, Kristyn Getty, and Ed Cash; © 2012 Gettymusic and Alletrop Music (BMI) (adm. by MusicServices.org)

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bible student
bible student

Bible Students:

Meditate on this marvelous passage.  Enter in...and give thanks:

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 3:7-11

*first posted Easter 2012

The Rest of the Gospel: C-c-courage and so much MORE

Dorothy, wizard of oz
Dorothy, wizard of oz

In this world, you will have trouble,But take courage, I have overcome the world!John 16:33

Who doesn't love the classic movie The Wizard of Oz?  And of all the characters, the Cowardly Lion is a favorite!  Why is that, I wonder?  Could it be that we see ourselves in him -- while putting on a brave front to face life, we find that, in reality, we are scared little "kitties" inside?

cowardly lion
cowardly lion

I especially love the lion's "courage monologue":

COWARDLY LION:  Courage! What makes a king out of a slave? Courage! What makes the flag on the mast to wave? Courage! What makes the elephant charge his tusk in the misty mist, or the dusky dusk? What makes the muskrat guard his musk? Courage! What makes the sphinx the seventh wonder? Courage! What makes the dawn come up like thunder? Courage! What makes the Hottentot so hot? What puts the "ape" in apricot? What have they got that I ain't got? DOROTHY, SCARECROW, TINMAN: Courage! COWARDLY LION: You can say that again!

Can you identify?I can...

And that's how I felt with teaching and speaking in front of people.  I was inwardly terrified!  I felt a lot of shame about this, because I wanted to trust God completely.  (I've since found out, though, that speaking in public is one of the top fears among women -- go figure!)  Anyway, this fear was debilitating...often to the point of physical illness.

This was especially true when it came to a big meeting connected to my job with a local Christian school.  I used to be a home school coordinator, and in those early days, I had a very large group of families to help.  At the end of the summer each year, we would meet as a group with all our families -- new and returning.  At that time, we would tell them about ourselves, encourage them, and explain how the program ran.

Well, I dreaded it!  Not because they were a hostile group...in fact the opposite was true!  And they loved me to boot!

DCS homeschool moms 2009
DCS homeschool moms 2009

DCS homeschool moms

So in my mind, this fear was totally illogical and unfounded!  I talked to myself and the Lord about it...but to no avail.  It would ruin my whole summer every year!  UNTIL...

One summer, I was agonizing as usual over the big home school meeting. In the midst of my agony, I thought to myself, "I need courage!"  So I proceeded to beg, plead, pray for courage.  I tried to do my best "courage self-talk".  All to no avail!  I was still a wreck!

In the meantime, that summer I happened to be teaching the little book of Colossians...for the 2nd time (I'm a slow learner!).  As I was preparing to teach the second chapter, the Holy Spirit highlighted two verses to my mind and heart:

For in Him [Christ] the whole fulness of deity [God] dwells bodily, and you have been filled in Him... Colossians 2:9-10 ESV

All of a sudden the realization came crashing through:  Jesus wasn't a wimp! Remember how He stood up to the Pharisees -- not exactly a friendly audience!  Courage is part of the fulness of God in Christ.   And the courageous God Christ lives within me.  He will live His courageous life through me as I trust Him! That's what being filled in Him means.  No more begging, pleading, self-talk, Christian mental mind games!  No more shame & despair!

So I decided to trust the Courageous Christ.  And guess what?  He WAS courageous through me so that I could relax and be my charming :) self--to the glory of God!  And it broke the bondage for me in those situations...now I have normal levels of nervousness.  And I know that every situation is a new opportunity to trust the full Christ within to be who He is in and through me.

So do you need courage today?  The Courageous Christ will be courageous through you as you trust Him. Do you need love today?  The Loving Christ will love through you as you trust Him. Do you need to forgive today?  The Forgiving Christ will forgive through you as you trust Him. Do you need patience today?  The Patient Christ will be patient through you as you trust Him. Do you need _______ today?  (You fill in the blank)  The _________ Christ will be ________ through you as you trust Him.

If you are a child of God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the full Christ lives within you.  He is full through you as you trust Him!  It's the devil's lie to get us to think of ourselves as separate from our Lord.  He's not up there, and we're down here, praying He throws down a little courage (or whatever) if we pray correctly!  NO!  We are one with Him...united in a way that nothing in heaven or earth can separate!

I have been crucified with Christ.  It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.  And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me. Galatians 2:20

So, dear sisters & brothers, look at whatever you are facing today as your opportunity to experience Him in His fulness!  Praise His Holy Name!

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence. 2Peter 1:3 ESV

...that you may be filled with all the fulness of God. Eph 3:19b ESV