Saturday, March 31, 2018

April 1, 2018

"The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.” So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” Matthew 28:6-10

I want you to try and put yourself in the place of these women who went to the tomb in the early morning hours of that first Easter. But I want you to imagine that instead of going to the burial place of Jesus, you are going to the grave of your mother, or your father, or your child, or that of your best friend. As you approach you are struggling with that same old sense of sadness that always grips you when you visit here. But this morning is different! For when you get there the grave is open. Your sadness turns to shock, then to horror, but then you hear the voice of your loved one and you turn immediately toward the sound.

You cannot believe it! You blink once and then you blink again. There stands your loved one - alive and well! In fact, they look better than they ever! Without thinking or speaking or without consciously moving you find yourself locked in a warm tight embrace! They are alive! They are back!

Can you imagine the joy? If you can you may begin to understand what these women experienced outside Jesus' tomb that morning.

Sound impossible? That is precisely what happened that morning! These women arrived grieving and ready to prepare a dead body but found a risen Savior Who looked better than they had ever seen! They were filled with joy - and wonder - and hope! All the grief and despair of the last two days was gone! He was alive! He arose as He had said!

Easter is about life! Powerful life! Resurrection life! Eternal life! God's life! The only thing that died that morning was death!

Oh, about that scenario involving your loved one! It has happened! Because of the atoning death and because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, your loved one IS alive - more alive than ever! And some day their grave WILL be empty and you will see them in their glorified body! That very same type of glorified body the women saw that morning by His tomb!

"So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven. I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." I Corinthians 15:42-58

Celebrate! Rejoice! He has risen from the dead! He arose as He said! He is alive! Hallelujah!


Friday, March 30, 2018

March 31, 2018

"Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26

You often hear this portion of Scripture read at funerals for obvious reasons. I have shared it a number of times myself. And why not? What a comforting message these words give.

As good as they sound, take a few moments to absorb what they say!

Think of the Source of these words - "I am"!

God identified Himself to Moses as, "I am". So, when Jesus announces that "I am the resurrection and the life" He is saying, "I am God - and because I am God I am life!" What other source of life is there? What other source do you need?

Think of the Substance of these words - "the resurrection and the life". You could paraphrase this sentence to say "I am the life before death and the life after death - I AM LIFE PERIOD!" And, He is!

Think of the Solace of these words - "He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die". Life in Christ is eternal! It never ends! Even when you die - you live! The body may die but the real you never does! HE IS LIFE! THE LIFE! And why is He life? Because He is the resurrection! Easter changes everything!

Think of the Stipulation of these words - "He who believes in me", "whoever lives and believes in me", "Do you believe this?” If you want to live on with Jesus you must live in Him! That requires faith. That requires confessing your sins and repenting of them and receiving Jesus for your Savior. Once you receive Him for your salvation you must remain in Him by obedience. Salvation comes by faith and then is followed by faithful service. It is not enough to believe Jesus in your head, but you must live out His love through your life. And when He dwells in you by His Spirit, His life also dwells in you! Because He lives in you, His life is at work in you. So when your early life ends, His life will carry your spirit to the "place He has been preparing for you"!

Do you believe this! Easter says, "Believe it! He has risen!" and if you live in Him and believe in Him you will never die!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Something From Nothing

"The angel spoke to the women: “There is nothing to fear here. I know you’re looking for Jesus, the One they nailed to the cross. He is not here. He was raised, just as he said. Come and look at the place where he was placed." Matthew 28:5-6

One of the most popular sitcoms in television history was the show "Seinfeld". I confess it became one of my favorites but I didn't start watching until it came out in syndication.

When asked to opine on the popularity of the show Jerry Seinfeld admitted he was surprised by its success since it was a show about nothing!

So this iconic TV show illustrates that episodes about nothing can become something!

The same is true of the beloved Easter Story!

These dear ladies arose early and made their way through the predawn darkness to the tomb of Jesus. They didn't know for sure if they would even be able to enter into the tomb because of the massive stone that sealed the entrance. It was important to them that the body of Jesus be prepared for a proper burial. So, off they went with no guarantee they would be able to enter the tomb unless someone was there to roll away the stone!

When they got to the tomb nothing was in front of the tomb because the stone had been rolled away. They didn't know what to think of that but fortunately there was an angel there to announce the wonderful news that Christ had risen from the dead on the third day just as He had promised! So, there was nothing in the tomb but he invited them to look for themselves. And when they looked they saw nothing! The tomb as empty!

And when they saw nothing they knew God was up to something because God specializes in doing something with nothing!

First, God created the amazingly majestic universe out of nothing! Look out at the full moon tonight or at the beauty of Spring tomorrow and remind yourself that they all come from nothing! And they came for nothing when God said something! All He had to say was, "Let there be....!" and everything we see around us appeared from nothing!

And now, God was up to something when there appeared to be nothing! He raised Jesus from the dead! That is why they found nothing in the tomb! God had done something! And that something that God did means everything!

It proves that He has power over death!

It proves that He can be counted on to keep His promises and every promise is true!

It proves that He is present and has promised to never leave you or forsake you!

It means that if you think you are nothing God can certainly do something with you! All you have to do is give Him everything and He will do something that will change your life forever!

What do you have to lose? Nothing!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

March 29, 2018

"The angel spoke to the women: “There is nothing to fear here. I know you’re looking for Jesus, the One they nailed to the cross. He is not here. He was raised, just as he said. Come and look at the place where he was placed." Matthew 28:5-6

If I may presume to paraphrase the remarks of an angel, here's essentially what he said to these women, "There is nothing to fear because Jesus isn't here!"

Take another look at the two verses above and tell me that is not what it says.

These dear women arose very early in the morning on the third day after the death and burial of Jesus because they wanted to embalm his body. What a labor of love!

So, they came expecting a dead body. They were committed to properly preparing their Lord's body for burial because they loved him. There are things you do for love that you would never do for money. This was one for them! Or, it would have been if there had been a body!

But there wasn't! Because Jesus had risen from the dead!

So, because they found nothing they couldn't do anything but they didn't realize Jesus had just changed everything!

That's the glory of the Resurrection!

Through Jesus' death on the cross to atone for our sins and then because of His Resurrection from the dead, God did something out of nothing! He changed everything!

Now sin has no power over those who place their trust in the Risen Savior!

Now death has no fear for those who have found spiritual life in Jesus Christ, the One Who conquered death!

Now the Enemy has no power over the people of God! 

In, fact, in the power and presence of the Risen Savior God's people have authority over the Enemy!

Finding nothing when they were looking for something changed everything!

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Proofs Of The Resurrection

"After the Sabbath, as the first light of the new week dawned, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to keep vigil at the tomb. Suddenly the earth reeled and rocked under their feet as God’s angel came down from heaven, came right up to where they were standing. He rolled back the stone and then sat on it. Shafts of lightning blazed from him. His garments shimmered snow-white. The guards at the tomb were scared to death. They were so frightened, they couldn’t move. The angel spoke to the women: “There is nothing to fear here. I know you’re looking for Jesus, the One they nailed to the cross. He is not here. He was raised, just as he said. Come and look at the place where he was placed." Matthew 28:1-6

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the singular best documented and most important event in human history. It is the foundational fact of the Christian faith because if Jesus did not arise from the dead then none of the Biblical claims about Him can be believed.

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ distinguishes Christianity from the other great religions of the world since none of them can claim a living Founder of their faith. We can! And we do!

As you prepare to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus on this coming Easter Sunday, here are several more conclusive proofs of the Resurrection! 

1st, Christ predicted His resurrection. The Bible records, "From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things ... and be killed, and be raised up on the third day" (Matthew 16:21, New American Standard Bible). Even though His followers did not understand what He was telling them at the time, they remembered His words and recorded them.

2nd, Jesus made numerous appearances to His followers. He comforted the mourners outside His tomb on Sunday morning. On the road to Emmaus, He explained things about Himself from the Old Testament. Later, He ate in their presence and invited them to touch Him. Scripture records that Jesus was seen by more than 500 at one time. Some may argue that a few people could have agreed to a deception, but how can one explain the collaboration of 500 people?

3rd, the unrelenting faith of the disciples convinces me of the Resurrection. Those disciples who were once so afraid that they deserted their Lord now courageously proclaimed this news, risking their lives to preach. Their bold and courageous behavior does not make sense unless they knew with absolute certainty that Jesus had been raised from the dead.

4th, the growth of the Christian church confirms the Resurrection. Peter's first sermon, which dealt with Christ's resurrection, stirred people to receive Him as their living Savior. Luke records the thrilling results: "That day there were added about three thousand souls" (Acts 2:41). And that group of believers has multiplied until now it reaches around the world. Today, there are hundreds of millions of believers.

Finally, the testimony of hundreds of millions of transformed lives through the centuries shows the power of the Resurrection. Many have been delivered from addictions. The destitute and despairing have found hope. Broken marriages have been restored. The most conclusive proof for the resurrection of Jesus Christ is that He is living within believers today in all of His resurrected life and transforming power.

Let the celebration begin!!!

Monday, March 26, 2018

March 27, 2018

"The angel spoke to the women: “There is nothing to fear here. I know you’re looking for Jesus, the One they nailed to the cross. He is not here. He was raised, just as he said. Come and look at the place where he was placed." Matthew 28:5-6

Lee Strobel's newest book, and probable best-seller, will be released today into the bookstores and on Amazon. It is entitled, "The Case for Miracles" and Barbara's miracle is prominently featured in the book.

When we asked him what drew him to Barbara's story he replied it is because her miracle was so well documented and skeptics demand scientific documentation to regard any claim as credible. Also, he mentioned the fact that her healing happened 37 years ago and she remains healthy is compelling evidence to doubters.

Not to be a spoiler but Lee builds his case proving miracles upon the two greatest miracles of the Bible: (1) Creation; (2) Resurrection of Jesus Christ. If you can be certain God spoke the universe into existence with a word then you will have confidence in His power to change your circumstance!And, if God is able to raise up someone from the dead after three days He has the power deal with your problem.

This Sunday we will celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ! It is the pivotal event of history! Every aspect of faith in God rests on the fact that Jesus Christ died on the cross for the sins of mankind and then was raised from the dead on the third day!

If that happened then hope happens! 

Good news!

The Resurrection of Jesus is one of the best documented historical events know to man.

Well-regarded Pastor and Author, John Piper writes:
It is worth pointing out that in establishing the historicity of the resurrection, we do not need to assume that the New Testament is inspired by God or even trustworthy. While I do believe these things, we are going to focus here on three truths that even critical scholars admit. In other words, these three truths are so strong that they are accepted by serious historians of all stripes. Therefore, any theory must be able to adequately account for these data. 

The three truths are:

1) The tomb in which Jesus was buried was discovered empty by a group of women on the Sunday following the crucifixion.

2) Jesus' disciples had real experiences with one whom they believed was the risen Christ.

3) As a result of the preaching of these disciples, which had the resurrection at its center, the Christian church was established and grew.

Virtually all scholars who deal with the resurrection, whatever their school of thought, assent to these three truths. 

I will share more compelling evidence of the historical documentation that proves the Resurrection of Jesus Christ as the week progresses. 

But, the greatest proof of all is to meet the Risen Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior! He is only one sincere prayer away!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

March 26, 2018

"But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene,who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him." Mark 16:4-6

An empty wallet in not a good thing.

An empty gas tank is trouble.

An empty belly makes you hungry.

An empty promise can leave you disappointed.

An empty cupboard can make you concerned.

Al Capone's empty vault made Geraldo Rivera look foolish.

As a rule, empty is not good. 

But very early in the morning on the third day when the ladies hurried to the tomb where Jesus' body had been laid, finding an empty tomb brought joy beyond imagination!

An empty tomb meant a Risen Jesus!

An empty tomb meant a promise kept and a prophecy fulfilled!

An empty tomb meant hope renewed!

An empty tomb meant death had been defeated!

Empty usually is not a good concept but an empty tomb on Easter morning was full of hope and joy!

Saturday, March 24, 2018

March 25, 2018

I believe what Paul is saying here is, “Look, you guys know what you ought to be doing! You know what’s right and wrong! But you can’t do it on your own. You can’t glorify God. Do as I do and trust Jesus to live out His life through you!”
“I am the true Vine, and my Father is the Gardener.  He lops off every branch that doesn’t produce. And he prunes those branches that bear fruit for even larger crops.  He has already tended you by pruning you back for greater strength and usefulness by means of the commands I gave you.  Take care to live in me, and let me live in you. For a branch can’t produce fruit when severed from the vine. Nor can you be fruitful apart from me. “Yes, I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in me and I in him shall produce a large crop of fruit. For apart from me you can’t do a thing.  If anyone separates from me, he is thrown away like a useless branch, withers, and is gathered into a pile with all the others and burned.  But if you stay in me and obey my commands, you may ask any request you like, and it will be granted!  My true disciples produce bountiful harvests. This brings great glory to my Father.” John 15:1-8


(1) CELEBRATE GOD’S GOODNESS, Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Philippians 4:4

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2

(2) ASK GOD FOR HELP, Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6

“…. and call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.” Psalm 50:15

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrew 4:16

(3) LEAVE YOUR ANXIETY WITH GOD, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7

 4) MEDITATE ON GOOD THINGS, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8

To sum up one of the most amazing Scriptures of the Bible, cling to Christ and receive His peace, His presence and His power to help you overcome anxiety!

Friday, March 23, 2018

March 24, 2018

"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." Philippians 4:8-9

Think about what you think about!

Think about how you think about it!

In these last two verses of this powerful portion of Scripture Paul urges you to do three things to make sure you think clearly:

1) Clarify
2) Verify
3) Glorify

We looked at the first one in the previous post.

When faced with a stressful situation and you feel anxious take a moment to clarify your thinking so you can make logical decisions. Work through the feelings and emotions and sort out the facts of your situation. Find out what God's word says and what His will is!

"Whatsoever things are:"

"TRUE" - This means "fact-based" - "Bible-based" - "Connected to reality not feelings"

Anything that isn't true by this standard - don't think on it. Don't let it occupy your mind.

"NOBLE" - Noble is "spiritually inspiring" "reverent" "dignified"

Anything that isn't noble according to this definition don't set your mind on it.

"RIGHT" - This refers to being grounded in righteousness" "Believing God is right and deciding accordingly"

If it isn't right don't clutter your mind with it!

"PURE" - Things that are "morally or spiritually undefiled"

Don't let your mind dwell on impure things.

"LOVELY" - "Reasonable" "agreeable" "proper attraction"

Keep your mind from being attracted to unlovely things.

"GOOD REPUTE" - Anything that is "scandal free" or "above reproach"

Keep your mind away from scandalous situations or activities.

"EXCELLENCE" - "Moral virtue that is consistent with God's nature"

Strive for excellence in your thinking!

"PRAISEWORTHY" - "Anything God would praise"

If you are convinced that God would praise it and praise you for thinking about it then it is praiseworthy and you should feel good thinking about it!

You are the air-traffic controller for the thoughts that enter your mental airspace. Keep your runway open to these virtues and close it to anything that doesn't measure up to this checklist.

"Think on these things!"

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Think On These Things

Perhaps you have had struggles with anxiety. And in our 2018 world there is no shortage of things to be anxious over. But what if, as Max Lucado asks, “Your challenge is not your challenge. What if your challenge is how you think about your challenge?”

Solomon wrote, “Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life.” Proverbs 4:23

If you want to be happy tomorrow sow seeds of happiness today! Direct your thoughts to happier things – count your blessings, read Psalms, listen to good music and look for people to encourage!

If you want to be worried, anxious or troubled tomorrow then wallow in self-pity, regret, guilt or anger. Beat yourself up. Complain to complainers and share negativity with negative people.

Paul wrote this sound and serious counsel to the believers at Philippi:

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me — put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9

There are three key phrases I want to highlight over the next several days to help unpack these important verses.


The Greek word for “think” = “logizomai” = “logic”

Paul reminds us that the best way to face anxiety is to face it with clearheaded logical thinking – sort out the facts ignore feelings.


  • The devil will try to get you distracted 

  • “he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” James 1:8

    • The devil will try to make you reactive

    “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” I Peter 5:8

    But instead, Paul challenges believers to:

    “Capture every thought and make it give up and obey Christ.”  II Corinthians 10:5

    Let me ask you:

    · Do you welcome everyone and anyone into your house?

    · Do you pump any liquid or fluid into your fuel tank?

    · Do you let any dog from the neighborhood into your house?

    · Do you plant just any kind of seeds in your garden?

    ·  Do you let any guy date your daughter?

    If you can logically sort out these decisions, and you do! Then you can learn to take your thoughts captive and "think on these things"!

    Wednesday, March 21, 2018

    March 22, 2018

    "Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life." Proverbs 4:23

    Every action is preceded by a thought. You don't even have to think about that! It's a no brainer!

    So, if you want to change your behavior change your thinking - both how you think and what you think about!

    In his book "Anxious For Nothing" Max Lucado uses this analogy to illustrate controlling your thoughts. He says think of yourself as the air-traffic controller of your thoughts.

    If your thoughts are like planes then your mind is like a runway and you control the traffic that lands or takes off or circles or gets sent off to another airport.

    Just as air-traffic controllers have their procedures and protocols so Paul gives you and me a list of standards for determining which planes should be allowed to land.

    "Brothers and sisters, think about the things that are good and worthy of praise. Think about the things that are true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected." Philippians 4:8

    You should always clear the runway for these virtuous thoughts! They should always be cleared for landing. You should always have any or all of these virtues in a holding plan circling and awaiting permission to land!

    If you want a better life!

    If you want to be happier!

    If you want to be more positive!

    If you want better attitudes!

    If you want to be more likable.

    If you want to be more attractive!

    If you want more friends!

    Take control of what lands in your mind. Close every runway except one and only allow the virtuous thoughts to touch down in your mind!

    "Think on these things!" Says the Apostle Paul!

    That also implies, "Don't think on those other things."

    If your runway gets crowded with non-functioning or broken down planes to the place that nothing else can land or take off that will entirely your fault!

    Take the role of an air traffic controller and manage the take-offs and landings in the airport of you heart!

    You will find yourself flying a whole lot higher!