That Scary Thing Called Waiting

Misty Mountain Top

Being a Christian can be scary.

Scratch that. Being a Christian is quite scary.

But it’s exhilarating. And so, so, worth it.

Life…it’s an adventure. Need I say more?

And sometimes it’s not very clear what we should do. And that feels scary, doesn’t it?

To me, it sometimes does. Because, to put it plainly, I’m not the one in control. Most times, when things seem bleak, it’s totally not in my power to change any of it.

So before you say that life is hopeless and all that, wait. Because as uncomfortable any and every aspect of life may seem, and we are totally not in control, we know who is.

We Christians have something that the rest of the world does not. What’s that, you ask?

Peace. Assurance. Hope.

And the scary part?

God calls us to wait on Him.

The excuse that “patience is a virtue that I don’t have” doesn’t go far with God.

Isaiah 40:28-31

“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

Psalm 27:14

“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”

Lamentations 3:25-26

“The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”

Psalm 37:34

“Wait for the Lord and keep his way, and he will exalt you to inherit the land; you will look on when the wicked are cut off.”

Does anyone else feel like it’s a bit scary to wait on God? I’m pretty sure we all do. But here’s the interesting thing.

Waiting is associated with strength, and goodness, and salvation, and exaltation.

Whoa. That is quite mind-blowing to me.

Because as tough as it is to be a Christian, and as hard it is at times to wait, our waiting is not in vain.

Like those verses say, God is faithful! Our strength shall be renewed; we will be saved; we will be exalted.

It might feel at times like God doesn’t know what He’s doing.

But that’s never the case.

A favorite quote of mine says this:

I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know the One who holds my future.

So, I’m realizing this more and more: waiting is the good part. It’s only scary if we let ourselves be afraid. God has it all under control. It’s His universe, after all. His will, His plans, and we are His people.

Should we let ourselves be afraid, though?

Isaiah 41:10

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Suddenly, this whole Christianity thing isn’t looking as hopeless, dark, and scary as before…

*aj

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Worthy of Praise

 New Hampshire Mountain and River Square New Hampshire Mountain Panorama New Hampshire Rock and Train Tracks

It’s just breathtaking.

Currently, I’m wearing away the keys of my laptop from a cute little motel in the middle of the gorgeous mountains of New Hampshire.

(Maybe I should be saying ‘last night’ not ‘right now,’ for I’m not writing at 6am. Anyway, just think of this in terms of Monday.)

I’m sitting on my bed with my computer, filtering through all the lovely memories of the day.

Here I am, driving in and out of the mountains. To every side, I see the splendor of cloud-covered mountains. The wind blows through my hair, and I simply breathe in the mountain air. The mountains are solid rock combined with greenery; too high and deep and wide for me to fathom. The breathtaking view is just too much. Peace mixed with awe; serenity mixed with wonder.

And that’s not all.

To all sides of the roads, rushing waters flow for miles. Over rocks and sand, under bridges and through streams, rushing rivers run. The water is clear and crisp. The most beautiful flowing water I’ve seen in such a long time. It winds through the mountains and steals the air from my lungs.

It’s stunning. Lovely. Gorgeous. Dazzling. Brilliant. Resplendent. Awe-striking. I have no words.

Besides this amazingness I witnessed today, there was more.

Because all of this pulchritudinous (yes, that’s a word!) craftsmanship cries out one thing: “I have a Creator, and I glorify Him!”

Psalm 19:1 says,

 

The heavens declare the glory of God,

    and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.”

 

I love this, because today I saw this firsthand. It was so amazing and inspiring! God’s creation is real. It’s not copied-and-pasted all around the world. It’s not a black-and-white world (like it was in the olden days, of course), for we live in vivid color. We live in the majesty and the uniqueness of God’s amazing handiwork!

Psalm 95:3-7 says,

“For the Lord is a great God,

In his hand are the depths of the earth;

    the heights of the mountains are his also.

The sea is his, for he made it,

    and his hands formed the dry land.

Oh come, let us worship and bow down;

    let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!

For he is our God,

    and we are the people of his pasture,

    and the sheep of his hand.”

 

Let us worship God for who He is! Let us bow before our Maker – not because we “have” to! No! Look at everything He has done! He’s created this entire world with such craftsmanship and beauty. He cares for us. He doesn’t have to. He created us and loves us, and has a purpose for all of us. And I’m overwhelmed by it all! Isn’t it INCREDIBLE?

Because all this creation, well, it’s breathtaking.

And all I can say is WOW. The pictures, well, they do NOT do it justice. Not in the least.

The majesty of God is displayed, reminding me of the Hope that I have. Reminding me to fall to my knees in worship, of my God, who cares so much about me. Reminding me how much I love Him. Reminding me how thankful I am to Him who has rescued my soul. I love my Lord, and these mountains and rivers are just a glimpse of His glory.

And a glimpse for now is all I need to blow me away.

I am blown away, and oh, how I want to worship Him in everything I do. Every breath I breathe, every song I sing, every word I pen, every word I speak, everything I do, I want to bring glory to Him in. In all things, He is worthy of my praise.

*aj

Guest Post – What Can I Do? – By Rachel Joy

What Can I Do

Happy Tuesday, my friends. Today we have a SURPRISE! My wonderful friend, Rachel Joy, is here to be my guest blogger for the day. She writes every Monday and Friday over at her blog, Noteworthy. It’s an honor to have her here with us today, and I hope you take the time to check out her blog! Enjoy. 🙂

I’m done!” I internally screamed, my heart beating with vehemence.

As some teenagers do, I then proceeded to turn my music up probably a little bit too loudly. What can I do?

Nothing.

So why not just sit here and listen to music probably a little bit too loudly?

Did you know that there are people who are literally dying on the streets of hunger, illness, and are being abused within an inch of their lives and then expected to put a full day of work in? Did you know there are children younger then my kid brothers who are being sold into slavery?

Which is frustrating, because really what can I do?

I would love to just fix the whole thing. But it’s not that easy.

There are kids my age who are making choices every day– both for good and for evil.

I would love to talk to all the kids who are making stupid choices and just tell them about about Jesus and the amazing life that he gives, but let’s be honest, would they listen to me? Probably not.

Which creates more frustrating problems. Because really, what can I do?

How can I fix this?

It’s a messy world. The chaos that is going on everywhere isn’t getting any less messy.

I wish I could just press this magic button. A sort of “Clear all” or “Escape” key and then everything could just be perfect.

I mean here I am, just sitting here being, like, a normal teenager in the midst of all this insanity.

What?

Here I am just watching the world fall apart and doing nothing but listening to really loud music and banging away on the poor abused keys of my laptop.

It’s so hard to realize that there is nothing I can do. There is no magic button, magic speech, no blog post I could write that could change the world.

The truth of the matter is I can only be in instrument of that God uses to fix it. I can only point and lead people to Jesus.

Which… is actually really hard. It means that you have to trust in him unconditionally. It means you have to surrender to whatever he asks you to do and that you have to fix your eyes on Him even though the road is narrow and the world is exploding everywhere.

It’s not easy. Not easy at all.

It’s not easy to keep being hopeful even when everything is crashing in. It’s not easy to believe that God is forever sovereign. It’s not easy to trust in His unfailing love and that He has a plan that is for our good.

I know that bad things happen. I also know that the world is messed up because of this ugly thing called sin. But we have hope. Jesus told us we would have trouble – in fact that’s why He died for us. He died to overcome the insanity of this world. He died to break the power of sin and death.

He died to give us peace and grace and His Holy Rest.

So that we can stand strong and lead people to Him and His rest.

Sure, it’s gonna be hard. It’s hard to think about the people who are younger then my brothers who are trapped in the chains of slavery.

It’s hard to think about my peers who are in the process of ruining the rest of their lives.

It’s hard to think about the people all across America – and the rest of the world – who don’t know about the redeeming love of Christ.

How can I fix this?

Point them to Jesus.

And know that He is sovereign- even when I can’t see it.

“It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights. He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You give me your shield of victory, and your right hand sustains me; you stoop down to make me great. You broaden the path beneath me, so that my ankles do not turn.”  ~Psalm 18:32-36

~Rachel Joy

Stress is Real, But There’s a Solution.

Castle and Bike

Have you ever read Psalm 91?

I love it so much. I don’t really have time to go through it all, and I don’t want to lose anyone’s attention (my own, actually…) so I’m just going to pick out a few verses from it.

Psalm 91:1-2 says,

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High

    will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress,

    my God, in whom I trust.’”

 

See, I get really stressed sometimes. If you’re not a high school student right now but once were, you may have forgotten how hard it can get…I’m not saying that “real life” is any easier, but stress is a real thing for us teens. (Well, I don’t know anything about being an adult, but I’ve heard that’s hard too.)

“You gotta get good grades.” “You really should have a job to pay for your own stuff.” “You need to do a bunch of sports and extracurricular activities, or you won’t have a chance of getting into a good college.” “You have to go to college! You won’t be able to get a good job to be able to support your family if you don’t!” “If you aren’t dating or married by your early twenties, it’s the end of the world!”

Yup. Stressful, right? Now, most of those aren’t true. (They’re good things, but seriously not of utmost importance.) But that’s what the world tells us, day after day. It’s such a burden.

I haven’t always heard all of those coming at me and stressing me out, but a lot of people can fall prey to those lies. And it affects our lives! For real!

Believing lies leads (usually) to realizing that we cannot measure up to them, which makes us live the life cycle of the overcommitted and stressed teen (or any other person).

I won’t go into the “don’t believe the lies” sermon; I’m just going to talk about real life.

You may be stressed (like me), but you are not alone.

Let’s do a little mental activity here. Take a picture of yourself in your mind. Now, cut and paste that picture and put it in the arms of God. And here’s the fun part. Envision yourself really and truly there. Well, guess what? That’s where you are. For real.

Let’s read those two verses again.
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High

    will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress,

    my God, in whom I trust.’”

God is our refuge and fortress.

I’m going to look up the words “refuge” and “fortress” in the dictionary, because I think that it helps to know what the verses are saying.

*goes to dictionary.com and copies and pastes*

“Refuge: shelter or protection from danger, trouble, etc.”

Alright, cool. So, according to this definition, God is our shelter and protection from danger and trouble. And stress. And hopelessness. And hardships. (Well, He doesn’t keep us from them always – I know this firsthand – but He is with us and our place of safety and hope in, well, everything.)

Now let me look up “fortress”.

“Fortress: any place of exceptional security; stronghold.”

I love love LOVE the word fortress. It sounds so medieval-y and awesome. I imagine a huge and strong stone castle with a wide and dangerous, crocodile infested moat around it, and an exclusive drawbridge just for me, and guards committed to protecting me around that, and a huge iron gate around that. Basically, 110% secure and an extremely safe place.

Well, that’s God.

The first verse says, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High

    will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.”

 

So God is our shelter in e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. If we dwell in His shelter (by trusting Him), we will abide (which means to remain; continue; and stay) in THE SHADOW OF THE ALMIGHTY!

I find so much comfort in that.

Okay, yeah, life is SO STRESSFUL and crazy at times. I feel it. But God is with us, His beloved children.

I’m not going to tell you that life is easy. It. Is. Not. But trusting in God takes the pressure off of us. If He is all we have, He is enough.

We can’t say, “If I trust in God and also have _____, then it will be enough.”

God. Is. Enough.

God. Is. Here.

We. Have. Hope.

God. Is. Strong. Enough. To. Handle. Anything.

He. Loves. Us. So. Much.

*aj

The Resurrection: Part 4

  

Happy Tuesday, friends! I hope that you had a wonderful Easter Sunday. Now, I have one last post in my Resurrection series and I like having one last thing to hold onto from the Holy Day. 🙂  So, without further ado, here is post #4 in this Easter series. Thank you for reading!

I don’t know about you, but I don’t think that most people want to die. I mean, usually, to die means to suffer. And if you’re not sure of where you’re going, dying isn’t exactly something that you look forward to. Am I right?

We celebrated Easter a few days ago. If you haven’t noticed it already, Easter is my favorite holiday. Why? No, it’s not because of the candy, or because I get to see my family and friends (although that’s fun too). It’s because I get to rest in the assurance of my salvation, that sin has no power over me. I am not punished for what I’ve done. What I deserve — Hell — is not given to me, because I have placed my faith in Christ alone to save me.

Let’s read 1 Corinthians 15:50-58.

“I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”

“O death, where is your victory?

    O death, where is your sting?”

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”

I love these verses because — like I said — we have victory over sin and death. But let me back up.

Verses 50-53 talks about the Blessed Hope.

“I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.”

To simplify, we (believers) have hope. H. O. P. E. Some of us may never experience death, but be taken to heaven in the ‘twinkling of an eye’. We will be changed! We will be given immortal bodies!

I know that earlier I said that we don’t need to worry about dying if we know where we’re going. But this is even better. Not only do we have the assurance of Heaven, but some of us won’t even die at all. Woah. I find that extremely awesome!

Okay, now for my favorite part. 15:54-58.

“When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”

“O death, where is your victory?

    O death, where is your sting?”

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”

When the perishable puts on the imperishable and the mortal puts on immortality (AKA when we are given new bodies and we become live-foreverable) this saying will be able to be quoted in the present tense.

Christ has defeated death. Death is conquered by victory, the victory that came by Jesus’ death and resurrection. We are victorious over death — we are not owned by the devil and sin that drags us to Hell — we are SAVED.

Sin and death have no power over us! NO POWER!

And for the last verse, we are to be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord our labor is not in vain.

We are not working for others, we are working for God. Our work is never wasted in God’s kingdom. We live to give glory to God, and that is never in vain.

I know that Easter has passed. I know that today is not Easter Sunday. But the truths we celebrate are the same all year round.

We have been saved. Sin and death have no power over me any longer, because Jesus has done the amazing thing — conquered death.

Easter is about the amazing love of God. It’s about the joy that it brings. It’s about the hope that we’ve been given. It’s about the peace that now rules our hearts. It’s about how we didn’t deserve what was given to us, which is what makes the resurrection so beautiful. Salvation is a wonderful thing because we fully deserve to be punished for our sin. It’s about this amazing grace bestowed upon us.

God is not out to get us. He is out to save us.

And this is why I love the resurrection so much.

Mankind rejected Him, but even still He came.

To conquer death, sin, and the grave,

though not deserved, He took my blame.

Isaiah 53:5-6 pretty much sums it all up.

“But he was pierced for our transgressions;

    he was crushed for our iniquities;

upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,

    and with his wounds we are healed.

All we like sheep have gone astray;

    we have turned—every one—to his own way;

and the Lord has laid on him

    the iniquity of us all.”

*aj

The Resurrection: Part 3

  

Good day, wonderful inhabitants of Earth. Can you believe that tomorrow is Easter Sunday?? I sure can’t. And yeah, I’m really excited. Jesus ROSE FROM THE DEAD, after all. Woohoo! Okay…so, I miscalculated when it came to scheduling posts for the past two weeks. Today’s post is not the last part in The Resurrection mini series. We still have Tuesday. Sorry about that melted-brain-Amanda moment. Ah well, today I’m writing about the resurrection of the dead. I think this is pretty cool, and I hope you do too! Enjoy. 🙂

What does it mean to rise from the dead?

I know what it means spiritually — my sins have been washed away and I have been counted blameless under God — but what about my physical, earthly death?

All us Christians will be resurrected. Which means that we all will die (unless Jesus comes back first). And I’m sorry for you who think you won’t die ever, but it doesn’t work that way.

We like to think of life as a wonderful thing, right? (Or at least certain people’s lives?) When people say they have “the perfect life,” we might envy them. I know I have. We all have wanted to change our lives in one way or another I think. But really — life doesn’t get too much better from one person to another. We all live in the same sinful world, and we all will eventually die. The best part is what comes after we die.

Let’s take a look at 1 Corinthians 15:42-49.

“So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is 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. Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.”

So…as I was saying a minute ago, we all have perishable bodies. therefore, we all will  die. (Food analogy — if you leave perishable fruit out on the counter for a few weeks, it will perish. End of analogy. Sorry, Im bad with analogies. ANYWAY.) But life does not end at our physical death. Remember John 3:16?

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Jesus came to give us eternal life. Our souls will not perish in Hell if we believe in Him; we will forever be in Heaven with Him.

Back to the first part of the passage I cited, 1 Corinthians 15:42-44.

“So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is 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.”

  1. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. What does that mean? Our earthly bodies will die, but our souls are immortal. Our souls will be raised from our bodies and we will live forever (although technically, eternal life begins when we believe on Him). Praise be to God for His wonderful saving of our souls!
  1. 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. What does this mean? Well, in short, it means that we have hope. It means that though our lives will be miserable and painful, this is not the end!
  1. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. We all have souls. That’s not our decision to make. We don’t decide if this life is the end — because it is not — we just decide whether we want to receive eternal life or not. I don’t know about you, but I’m going for it.

Here’s the second part, verses 45-49.

“Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.”

As I was writing this, I was a little apprehensive about trying to explain this part. After all, I’m only fifteen and not a Bible scholar or anything. But I will do my best, and if you have any questions, you can comment below.

  1. Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. Do you know what that means? Well, the first man Adam is, well, Adam. You know, the first man who brought sin into the world with his wife. *cringes* Yeah, I like to think that I would have perfectly obeyed God, but I don’t think I would have. We’re all human, and as much as I hate admitting it, I ain’t perfect. Not even close. That being said, because of Adam’s sin, all of mankind was dead in our sins. But the last Adam? He is Jesus Christ. Through Christ, a life-giving spirit, we have literally been given life. Our sins are GONE. We’re not just patched up or made better, we are new. AND IT IS COMPLETELY FREE! Is that not WONDERFUL?!
  2. But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven. Okay, that is a little confusing. I’ll break it down. Adam was from the earth, formed of dust (by God, not evolution). Jesus is from heaven. We by default have the image of Adam on us — sin. But by Jesus, we have the image of life and heaven on us. Isn’t that great?

I know that a lot of people think that the default destination for anyone — or at least good people — is heaven. But it’s not. Heaven is a choice. A choice to believe on Christ to save you from your sin and make you new. I’ve made my choice — have you?

Tomorrow is Easter. A wonderful day. The day that represents our new life in Christ. I know it is really easy to get caught up in traditions. We wake up, open the wonderful Easter basket (yummy chocolate bunnies. What do they represent again? *thinks hard and crinkles forehead* something about animals, Spring, grass, life, NEW LIFE…oh right! Easter is about new life in our Savior, Jesus Christ!), go to church, come back, spend the day with family and friends, and go to bed, gorged on candy and ham.

When did Easter became more about festivities and less about our Savior? Why? One timeless question that will jab and stab and blab in my mind for the rest of my life. Remember, just because the world does it, doesn’t make it right. Tomorrow, I hope my mind will be set on this wonderful assurance of life. God bless you all!

*aj

The Resurrection: Part 2

  

 

Happy
Tuesday, beautiful world! Hooray, we all made it through another Monday.
 So, I’m super excited about this week…because two things are happening.
1) IT IS EASTER THIS SUNDAY! Woohoo! Y’all know that Easter is my favorite holiday.
I mean, who wouldn’t want to climb onto their roof and dance and shout to the
world that their sins are FORGIVEN?!
I would, but my roof is slanted and I could possibly fall off and die if I did
that. Ah well. And 2) My BIRTHDAY is on Thursday! So all in all, this should
prove to be a wonderful week! Alrighty, I’m going to end my little blabbing
intro and say what I always do: thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoy!

 

 

Resurrection. Beautiful word. It literally means to come back from the
dead. Now let me ask a “Sunday School” question to make sure you’re not
sleeping. (#guilty!)

 

What
is Easter?

 

Sunday
School answer: the very first Easter was the day when Jesus
rose from the dead. But what does that mean? And is that really the most
important part?

 

Let’s
look at that in 1 Corinthians 15:12-22.

 

“Now if Christ is
proclaimed as raised from the dead,
 how can some of
you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?
 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain
and your faith is in vain.
 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we
testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he
did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised.
 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in
your sins.
 Then those also who have fallen asleep
in Christ have perished.
If in Christ we have hopein
this life only,
 we are of all people most to be pitied.”

 But in fact Christ has been
raised from the dead
,
 the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come
also the resurrection of the dead
.
 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 

 

Alright. That’s a lot of information. Let me try to break it down so
it’s easier to understand.

Let’s look at the first section, verses 12-15.

Now if Christ is
proclaimed as raised from the dead,
 how can some of
you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?
 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain
and your faith is in vain.
 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we
testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he
did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised.”

 

Paul was writing to the Corinthians,
in his first letter to the Corinthians. These people did not all (even as
Christians) believe in the bodily resurrection of the dead.

The
Corinthians, having a Greek background, believed in the immortality of the soul
but not in the resurrection of the dead and therefore some of them either did
not believe that Jesus was raised or
they had an inconsistent faith.

Now,
this creates a problem, and I’ll share it in a minute. If we say that Christ was raised from the dead, we cannot say that there is
so resurrection of the dead
. If we believe that He is alive, we must
believe that we also will be made alive at the rapture (physically, not just
spiritually).

Now
this is the problem. Let’s take a look at verses 16-19.

 

“For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised.And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in
your sins.
 Then those also who have fallen asleep
in Christ have perished.
If in Christ we have hopein
this life only,
 we are of all people most to be pitied.”

 

If Christ has not been raised from the dead, there is no
Easter.

 

Because
the wonder of Easter is not only that the resurrection of Jesus
is amazing, but that our sins are forgiven. That is where we get our hope.

 

 

If Christ has not
been raised, your faith is futile and
 you are still in
your sins.
 

 

Everything
rides on this one fact: the dead will rise again. If we do not believe this, we
have no hope. Forget the bunnies and peeps and chocolate. Without this amazing
hope, we are l.i.t.e.r.a.l.l.y. hopeless. Without the resurrection, we are not
forgiven.

 

But before you get caught up in thinking that we really are hopeless, let’s read verses 20-22.

 

But in fact Christ has been raised
from the dead
,
 the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come
also the resurrection of the dead
.
 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.

 

Christ with 100% certainty has
been raised from the dead. That’s not only biblical, it’s historical. Because
of Adam, we have died – both
spiritually and physically. But now, because of Christ,
we have hope that both we will rise from the dead at the rapture (Jesus instantly taking all believers to heaven), and
also because of Jesus’ resurrection,
we will live forever with Him. Isn’t that so encouraging?

 

Easter
is amazing. If I put aside the candy and festivities though, is it still that
amazing?

 

Yeah,
actually. Without all the fluffiness of the holiday, Easter is even better.

 

*aj

The Resurrection: Part 1

  

Happy
Saturday everyone, and happy early Easter again! I’m just so excited about Easter.
Yay! So, in honor of my favorite holiday, I’ve decided to do a mini-series for
the first time on 1 Corinthians 15 (a chapter about the Resurrection) leading
up to Easter (that’s 4 posts). I hope you enjoy!

 

For
today, I’m going to be focusing on 1 Corinthians 15:1-11. Here it is so we can
read it. 

 

Now
I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

 

For
I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that
 Christ died for our sins in
accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the
third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas,
then to the twelve. 

Then he appeared to more than five
hundred brothers at one time
,
most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared
to James, then to all the apostles.

 

 Last
of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of
the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
 But by the grace of God I am
what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. 

On
the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the
grace of God that is with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and
so you believed.

 

In the first section, we
read about this AMAZING gospel that we have been saved by and what it means for
us. First of all, we have received it, we stand in it, and we have been saved
by it if we truly believed. Now, I find that exciting.

 

 

Let’s spend some time on the second section now.

 

1)      Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures. I just find that amazing, so let me explain.Jesus wasn’t just some guy. He was blameless and holy and perfect, the only person who could have paid for the sin of the world. And this wasn’t just a random occurrence; it happened in accordance with the scriptures, planned from eternity backwards (the beginning of infinity) and foretold thousands of years beforehand in the Holy Scriptures. IS THAT NOT AMAZING?!

2)     
He was buried, and he
was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.
Alright,
let’s talk about the “he was buried” part. Joseph of Arimathea wouldn’t give up
his tomb to a non-dead person. Read my…uh, 
words. Jesus. Was. Dead. He was
beaten 39 lashes, lost just about all of his blood, his heart burst, his side
was pierced…you get the horrifying picture. Jesus
did not just pass out; he died, and was rightly buried. But then, something
happened. Something only God could do. He raised Jesus
from the dead. And not just that, but
in
accordance with the scriptures
. This was yet another miracle
that was planned and foretold from eternity backwards. IS THAT NOT MIND-BLOWING?!?

3)     
He appeared to Cephas (Peter), then to the twelve, then to more than 500
people, then to James, and all the
apostles.
The twelve disciples couldn’t have stolen the body
and pretended he was alive. Why would they have done that? That would have
hindered Jesus’ message from going
out. And 500 people couldn’t have hallucinated that Jesus
returned all at the same time. Just saying. HE ROSE FROM THE DEAD, PEOPLE! AND THAT IS EXCITING!

 

I saw a play a few years ago of Godspell, a play aboutJesus’ life. Don’t get me wrong, the play was great. But there was one thing that got on my nerves. At the end of the play,Jesus died. The end. He didn’t rise from the dead. And ifJesus didn’t rise from the dead, our salvation is null and void, because the point of his rising from the dead was to show His conquering of death. The only person in the universe who could have conquered death would beJesus. If our Lord could not conquer death by His resurrection, nobody could have. Without Easter, we would have no hope. Without the resurrection, we are still lost.

 

And now to the last section. I just want to touch on a piece here. I love verse 15:10a, which says, But
by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain.”
Essentially,
Paul is saying this: “Look here. I’ve
gotten to preach to you because of God’s amazing grace that He has poured out
on me through Jesus. He has given me
the chance to tell you about salvation in Christ
because of who He is, not who I am. And I am taking advantage of every
opportunity He gives me to share this grace with you, because of this amazing
thing He has done for me.” Now, is that not so WONDERFUL?!

 

So here is something to think about: if there’s more than one way to be saved, why did Jesus– the son of God – have to die and rise from the dead?

 

*aj