Win-Win, Resurrection or Resurrection (My Redeemer Lives 3:3)

One of the things that struck me when we moved to Nebraska was the vitality and life of our downtown.

Our downtown has stellar coffee shops, re-gentrified architecture that houses local businesses, eclectic stores with retro clothes and gorgeous items to add color to your home. There are festivals, music, and of course, food…farm-to-table, international, hand-crafted baked scones, and the occasional food truck. It’s really pretty fantastic.

This seems pretty rare to me— life in the downtown. The death of the downtown is found all over the place— from tiny farming communities to urban sprawl. I would venture to say that is the norm, not the exception. Towns, villages, and cities are all filled with their “questionable sections” and what that really means usually is not kept up, fewer resources put in, and higher crime rates.

2 Kings 13:20-21 is an obscure Old Testament account of resurrection in the one of these “questionable sections” where decay is the norm, but God brings in life:

20 So Elisha died, and they buried him. Now bands of Moabites used to invade the land in the spring of the year. 21 And as a man was being buried, behold, a marauding band was seen and the man was thrown into the grave of Elisha, and as soon as the man touched the bones of Elisha, he revived and stood on his feet.

This grave, maybe a cave along the side of the road, according to my study Bible, or a tomb of some sort outside of town, this was burial place of Elisha the prophet. There were probably others buried there, in keeping with the custom of communal burial places at that time in the nation of Israel. So, decay seems obvious on that level—death comes and bodies become bones relatively quickly.

“Now bands of Moabites used to invade the land in the Spring of the year…”

Add a questionable roadway, evidently a questionable time of year, and you end up with a funeral ended hastily wrapped in fear and more decay than the participants bargained for on an already cruddy day.

Then… Life.

And all it takes is two verses.

It’s not that Elisha’s bones hold more power than the average prophet guy. It’s not that this section of village life was miraculously resurrected. Rather, it is that our God is so filled with Life that He can bring it any where, any way, and at any time He wants.

Healing and restoration aren’t dependent on our small minds and timelines. Resurrection in our lives takes place when God wants it, where God wants it, and how God wants it. It’s not God-puppetry, but freedom found in God’s promises and plans. Knowing He can do it, and knowing that He has a plan when He doesn’t, or doesn’t do it our way.

Haven’t seen resurrection for your “questionable” places and spaces?

I know. It’s not easy. Moabite marauders exist and evil finds its way in, especially on the cruddiest of days.

Not all healing and resurrection comes when we expect it, want it, or as we think it should be. When life looks like this reality, we cling to the promises of the mysteries of what God in 1 Corinthians 15:51-58:

 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 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. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 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.”
55 “O death, where is your victory?
    O death, where is your sting?”

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 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.

The perishable will put on imperishable. God will bring Life to every last decaying thing one day. He will. He says so. It will look so much more shocking and wonderful and amazing than a few bones bringing life on the side of a road. It will scream Life and Healing and Restoration in every last corner of Creation and of our spirits.

It’s win-win for Christians. Resurrection or resurrection.


It doesn’t make it easier. 1 Corinthians 15:58 calls it labor, actually. But it does make it more hopeful.

Win-Win. Resurrection or resurrection.

Rest in the Resurrection – Mark 16:6 (My Redeemer Lives 2:5)

Today, I invite you to rest.

Rest in the knowledge that God has a plan in the midst of our fears and failures.

You are a valued individual in God’s eyes.

You belong to a community of people, a community of believers, whose Head is the Most High God, but who intimately dwells with us as we gather.

Remember your significance through Him when you feel insignificant.

Remember Thomas doubted, too, and Jesus still answered His questions.

Remember our mountains may move, but the Resurrection is Hope and Life when we can’t see it.

Remember the world is a scary place, but His feet are always ready for our fears and our praise.

What promises from this past week stuck with you the most?

Rest in these Truths today.

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Afraid, Alarmed, Amazed – All Those Resurrection Emotions (My Redeemer Lives 2:1)

Emotions are often my best friends and my dirty rotten enemies, all within the same day.

I struggle with ups and downs, sideways movements, and hostage-like situations with glad, sad, mad, and just plain blah.

I was also once congratulated by a nurse during childbirth for my “amazing sense of self-control.” Probably my favorite compliment to date…ever.

So, which person am I? A happy one? A frustrated one? A self-controlled one?

I’m encouraged to know that it doesn’t work like that. I’m not defined by my output, my responses, or my reactions on any given day. If I’m honest, that’s one of my greatest fears — that people will see me, my family will see me, as the woman who lost it while cooking dinner, the woman who exudes joy but cries quietly in the bathroom when she gets a moment, the angry mom from last Tuesday.

Fear and failure are hulking realities in our lives. They cast a shadow on our days and our emotions often top the list of where we think we don’t measure up.

2 Timothy 1:7 is often quoted to aid our Christian walk-

for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

When I hear this, my first thoughts are

“Get it under control, Heidi.”

Any time you share this as a meme or share across the table with a friend struggling with emotions, I would venture a bet that this is the message they hear,

“Get it under control.”

But God gives verses in context and that context is always the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus. Even our emotions are best understood in this context.

So let’s see today what power and message the resurrection has for all those emotions.

Read Mark 16:1-6 to discover more:

When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him.

“Do not be alarmed.”

This assumes obvious and vagrant emotions on the part of the women showing up at the tomb – shock, surprise, maybe fear, a mixture.

The Greek word for alarmed in Mark 16:6 is ekthambeisthe, from the root ekthambeó. It’s more closely related to awe and wonder than fear alone. Finding Jesus gone was a shock for these women. Finding an angel, a messenger of God in all his glory, still more shocking. I love that the Helps Word Studies at refers to the Greek text translation as being “out of one’s senses” because of what they saw, what they experienced, the shock of the reality of God’s intervention.

The parallel in Matthew 28:5-10 does directly reference fear though.

Matthew 28:5-

But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.

The Greek here is phobeisthe from phobeó — withdraw in fear, flee, avoid —but also includes reverence. The words are different and have a different emphasis from the writers. But I think it’s safe to say that what the women experienced at the resurrection was a mixture of emotions

in reference to who they were based on what God can do, who God is.

When we recognize ourselves in relation to God, the power of God, God’s control, God’s perfection, when that’s what we hear on its own with no resurrection context in 2 Timothy 1:7, we will feel completely an utterly


Lost in a world of emotions and their hold on our spirits.

But the context of the resurrection overarching all we know and experience of God changes everything.

He does not define us by moments, by responses, by the angry mom on Tuesday versus the joyful woman in worship.

Jesus’ death and resurrection tells us that He sees us as significant.

His response does not change based on what we feel at the moment — shock, awe, sadness, joy, wonder, anger, fear.

The message of the angel to the women was not just “do not,” but also see who He is –

“He has risen; he is not here.”

Do not be alarmed, do not be afraid, there is no need. I think we read it wrong and out of context. God always reaches out, never pushes away, when Jesus stands as the intermediary. He sees our fear, our frustration, our astonishment and says, “Don’t separate yourself from me. Come in for a closer look.”

The resurrection invites us in for a closer look.

Read 2 Timothy 1:6-7, again-

 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

The knowledge of the resurrection, resurrection reality in our lives, fans into flame the gift — Christ in our hearts, the Spirit firing up in our souls.

It’s a gift. When we feel overwhelmed, out of our senses with emotions, we can go in for a closer look at God in His Word, be encouraged, be refreshed, and begin to sort it all out in a safe space at His feet.

Prepare to be astonished, amazed, a little afraid, but always significant, no matter the emotion — in His resurrection. What hope do you hear in Jesus reaching out to you in the midst of emotions? What promise does the resurrection hold no matter your state of mind?

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Don’t forget this week’s Bible margin to help you reflect as you study.


*Greek study references at –


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