Write What You Have Seen (My Redeemer Lives 8:1)

I pretty much live to hear the Word at this point.

Life has thrown enough yuck in my general direction that I just don’t know how anyone lives without it. I lap it up, sloppily, desperately, like my labradoodle trying to drink from his water bowl in the middle of July.

I’m so thirsty. It’s never enough in one sense, while it’s still completely and utterly enough in another sense. Jesus’ love and forgiveness, the removal of my shame that I find in His death and resurrection, the value He places on me in everything He does, are absolutely my fuel for this life, for this day.

And while I’m thirsty, He quenches.

While I’m imperfect, His strength burns purpose into my weaknesses.

While I and all that is around me is mortal, His immortality is the cloak that warms my soul to find hope, to share Hope each day.

Thank you, dear Job, for taking one for the team and constantly reminding us in God’s Iron Ink of Biblical Truth:

For I know that my Redeemer lives,
    and at the last he will stand upon the earth.
26 And after my skin has been thus destroyed,
    yet in my flesh I shall see God,
27 whom I shall see for myself,
    and my eyes shall behold, and not another.
    My heart faints within me! (Job 19:25-27)

If you have learned anything from this study, I pray that it is this:

We live in the Resurrection.

Resurrection overflows life into our lives in the same way that Christ’s sacrifice brings absolute forgiveness into our days. Without the resurrection, so much of life feels like heavy shame. It may be called Good Friday, but the weight we carry for putting Jesus on the tree is far too heavy to ever feel good. We weren’t meant to live there, friends.

Resurrection dawns.

Easter morning’s Resurrection sometimes feels far off, but it works in everything. It changes everything about how we live, think, and believe!

Today looks different, heart-faintingly different, because Jesus rose.

Sometimes this difference is obvious:

Forgiveness and grace spoken aloud in our homes when we really don’t feel like giving it.

Giving and stewarding a little more time and energy from what would be an empty cup without Resurrection Joy.

Breaking bread and sharing space with people we may not have otherwise because Jesus is alive among us.

Sometimes the difference is not so obvious, and so we need constant reminders. As we leave this study, let us remind one another. I’d like to do this in two ways.

First, in the comments, share with us what you will walk away with from this study.

Were there any surprises for you? Any resurrections you were unfamiliar with?

Where have you seen resurrection in your own life in the last weeks, and over the course of your walk with God?

What one lesson, one truth, one piece of hope over everything else and all my zillion words will stick with you?

Next, I want to share one last passage of resurrection with you. One not-so-final glimpse of our Resurrected Savior in Revelation 1:4-7 –

John to the seven churches that are in Asia:

Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth.

To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.

Jesus is the firstborn from the dead, the Resurrected One, Savior, Restorer.

He’s also our Faithful Witness, the Faithful Witness. He witnesses to us what He’s done and Who He is in His Word. When we hear it, we are renewed because in that place our story connects with His Story, giving our story meaning, and firm footing. This place of hope and life, that’s His story working out in our story. What was John’s response to Jesus’ witness? He wrote His story down. He shared his story with Christ as the centerpiece.

So let us keep sharing the resurrection, connecting to the resurrection, and in and with that…sharing our stories alongside His story.

To make this a little more concrete for you, a little easier to share also, I created a resurrection Scripture writing plan. You can download the thirty-day plan from the link below and print it or screen shot it to use to keep His story close to you, to cement it in your heart by simply reading or reading and writing the passage, or by giving to a friend, sharing at Sunday School, or creating a challenge in your group.

Write His Story: Resurrection Reading and Writing Plan

As you read or write the story of resurrection within the Scriptures, simply ask yourselves these questions:

How can we begin to tell our story, really tell it, to God?

How can we make our homes open places to tell our stories?

How can we make our churches open places to tell our stories?

Keep it simple and just ask the questions before God, around His Word, and let Him answer. He will tell His story in you, in your home, and in your community…and what a story it is! Salvation, grace, restoration, heartache, waiting, failure, fear, death, life, darkness, light, glory, healing, and so much more yet to be told.

Savior – You have written Your story. Continue to write Your story in each of our lives. We tear down all that is not in You, all that doesn’t point to You. We lay all those things before You…Resurrect it, Lord. Resurrect.

Thank you for studying with me. I hope you’ll join me for our Fall Study…

(drumroll!)

This study is especially meant to reach those on the fringes of a relationship with God. Those who may know about Jesus but don’t know where to put Him. Those who know there is something better, something more in this life, but don’t know what it is. For others of you, this study will open the door to defining what real relationship looks like, what our hungry hearts truly long for, and why we so often feel disappointed with our relationships one moment and ecstatic about them the next. It will introduce you to a Hope that brings better and more to our relationships with those around us and to a God who loves brave all the way – brave enough to sacrifice everything for you in Faith, Hope, and Love.

In the meantime, as always, look for more articles, podcasts, resources, and encouragement every week at ilovemyshepherd.com.

 

Life Goes On…After Resurrection (My Redeemer Lives 7:1)

It confounded me when I was a young adult, someone newly interested in my Bible, trying to find the beginning and the end of it.

I could find the first page of Genesis and the last page of Revelation (sort of), but I didn’t understand how the middle fit. I didn’t get why so much happened before Jesus came and why so much happened after Jesus rose.

A whole new level of confounding came in when I would flip to the end of the Gospels and expect to find the resurrection. It seemed like every Gospel should clearly begin with Mary’s pregnancy or Jesus’ birth and end with an empty tomb and an angel proclaiming,

“He is risen!”

to which the disciples responded, “He is risen indeed! Alleluia!”

The End.

Tidy.

Instead, when we open the Gospel accounts we actually find more to the story.

We find a whole lot of life…after the Resurrection.

Feel free to open your Bibles to the Gospels with me as we go through an overview of the final chapters of each one — Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John — to see all the Life.

Matthew keeps it pretty neat. In the last chapter of Matthew, Matthew 28, we find a brief resurrection narrative witness. Then we get a little bit more in the form of an interchange between the Romans guards, who witnessed the resurrection reality that was Jesus of Nazareth, and the Jewish leaders who paid them to spread a lie that the disciples stole the body to make it look like resurrection. (Wow. Just wow.) Then Matthew also shares an account of the disciples receiving the Great Commission from the Risen Christ. So, it doesn’t really end with the resurrection at all. It concludes with a mountaintop, eleven guys worshiping, and the Resurrected Jesus teaching.

Mark, who I like to call the fast-forward Gospel writer, doesn’t end with the resurrection either even though He likes to keep things relatively short and succinct. Mark’s final chapter, Mark 16, has the account of Christ’s resurrection, actually two accounts of Christ’s resurrection, then adds a very brief, two-verse, account of Jesus’ appearance to two disciples in particular, and his own witness of the Great Commission.

Luke does not disappoint with his last chapter, Luke 24, dedicated to Christ’s resurrection followed by the witness of the account of the Risen Jesus on the road to Emmaus, Jesus appearing yet again to teach His disciples, and the Ascension, when Jesus returns to heaven. If you didn’t have the crucifixion and death of Jesus in Luke 23 preceding, these accounts would look a whole lot like life as usual.

We can’t forget John, the beloved disciple. John blesses us with not one chapter of post-resurrection witness, but two. John 20 holds two accounts of the resurrection itself, followed by Jesus’ tender interactions with Thomas and His disciples, a proclamation that Jesus did way too much to even try to write down, and then John continues into John 21 with what I lovingly like to think of as “Life’s a Beach with Jesus!”

John ends his gospel with one of the verses that makes me particularly fond of him, John 21:25 —

 Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.

John wants to assure us that this isn’t the whole story, again. John is likely referring to the entirety of Jesus’ time here on earth, but because he repeats it twice, earlier in John 20:30-31 and here in John 21:25, I am prone to believe that he is also applying this to the Resurrected Jesus.

If life goes on after Jesus’ resurrection, with Jesus’ presence here on this earth, then what was He doing? Life goes on…but what for?

Jesus was eating.

There is a lot of eating after the resurrection if you ask me. Maybe I notice it because I like food, but there are definitely fish on the beach and breaking bread after walking to Emmaus.

Fun fact: there are sects of people who believe that Jesus didn’t eat, and some who don’t even believe He was in a physical body after the resurrection.

Not a fun fact: Do not let people steal your hope like that! This is what happens when we chip away at the Gospel and make it into what we want to hear. The Bible tells us that there is a feast with our Savior to come like we cannot even begin to imagine. The disciples had a foretaste of this during those 40 days, and we get a foretaste of it every time we take Communion at His altar together. Why would we want to miss the hope of a Savior who eats with us?

By Jesus eating with His disciples, and with us at the table of His Supper, we are filled with Hope that God has a plan for us and a big plan written with eternity in mind.

Life goes on and eating is part of life…after the Resurrection.

Jesus was teaching and talking.

The disciples were listening. I’m guessing they were so hungry for one more day with the Lord after they “lost” Him that they could hardly get enough.

We have the opportunity to gather around His Word too! Let us be hungry for it, for one more day in the presence of what He has to share with us. Let’s run to worship to learn and be taught. Let’s get in Bible study and grow through hard conversations and reminders of life and hope. Let’s go and teach and talk and have those same hard conversations in unconventional places to witness His Word to this world.

Life goes on and His Word goes out…after the Resurrection.

Jesus witnesses and gives witness.

Jesus witnesses to the disciples the truth of Who He is and what God is doing through Him. He tells the disciples what happened at points x, y, and z through the prophecies of the Old Testament to the fulfilling of them in the New Testament (Luke 24:27). He witnesses to them about love and about grace and what those things really are according to His Word and His Sacrifice. He prepares the disciples for what is to come for them and encourages, encourages, and encourages. He spends time with them, teaches, and shares more conversation with them, giving them more to share of His life-giving Spirit.

Life goes on, ministry goes on…after the Resurrection.

We remember the words of John again from John 21:25 —

Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.

The world can’t hold Him, our Savior Jesus—isn’t that glorious! But yet, we are each witnesses to all He does in this life that goes on in our time and place…after the Resurrection.

You can download this Scripture card and one for every day of the week at PureJoyCreative.com.

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

Join the discussion by sharing your thoughts and insights in the comments here and on social media.

Catch the week seven video here:

Waking, Sleeping, and Sleepwalking

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Rest in the Resurrection (My Redeemer Lives 5:5)

Today, I invite you to rest.

Rest in knowing that God has had a plan since the Creation of the World. Jesus was in that plan. You were in that plan and He will always, always bring His prophecies and His plans to fulfillment.

Rest in all the places in His Word where God points us to His Son, to His Resurrection Redemption, and to His Restoration path.

Remember that Resurrection is His very name.

Remember that our waiting is not in vain. He is coming. He is not tarrying. He has the perfect timeline.

Remember that He is a Great, Big, Powerful, Mighty Resurrection God. He sits on His throne in heaven, rules in our lives, but His name is Love. His throne is mercy.

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

Rest in these Truths today.

Did you miss the video?

You can still catch Prophecies Can’t Get Much Cooler at the link below:

 

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