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Monday, April 17, 2006

"Risen Indeed!"

"The Lord is risen indeed" (Luke 24:34).

What a joy to gather yesterday with other believers and express the glorious truth of the resurrection.  I still recall the powerful narration line in an Easter musical Brooksyne led in many years ago that declares,  "It's not a fable nor a fairy tale but a true accounting of Jesus Christ, God's only Son." AMEN!

This morning I gathered with several men for prayer in a local restaurant. One shared how that yesterday in his church a leader had stepped forward and prior to prayer declared "The Lord is risen" to which the congregation replied with a joyous shout, "THE LORD IS RISEN INDEED!"  He went on to consider how all over the world this joyous exclamation of faith was being made but called the congregation to especially consider the persecuted church where the joy was just as real but in a whisper rather than a shout. But whether we shout or whisper we greatly rejoice!
This ancient declaration of faith can easily be a mere cliché.  However in just five words it expresses the bedrock truth of Christian faith, "The Lord is risen indeed."  This is especially important as true believers present the message of their resurrected Lord to the world.  The Easter bunny, the tooth fairy and Santa Claus are thought of by many as wholesome children's tales and the Lord Jesus can easily be reckoned the same way.  Some may smile and say regarding the message of Christ, "That is a touching story isn't it?"  Many have "Easter faith"; expressed by those who "believe" when they attend church on Easter or other special occasions.  But then they go about their lives ignoring God, at least until the next special church event!

But authentic, saving faith is life transforming - for the resurrection of Jesus Christ is a genuine, historical event, validated by clear accounts of eyewitnesses.  The Scriptures strongly denounce any notion of it being merely a touching story.  Two early eyewitnesses declared to the disciples, "The Lord is risen indeed."  For forty days after His resurrection, He showed Himself and gave many convincing proofs that He was alive (Acts 1:3).  And many years later a mightily transformed Peter reminds his readers that, "We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty" (2 Peter 1:16).

Today let us faithfully serve this risen Lord.  Let us boldly declare to this world that the Lord is risen indeed and that our God is alive!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen C. Weber

Brooksyne's prayer: Lord Jesus, Your Word declares that You rose from the dead.  The eyewitnesses to this glorious miracle were in disbelief but then were filled with renewed hope.  Because You live we live also.  You've put our sin nature to death and raised our spiritual nature to life.  And one day our physical nature will give way to death but because of Your power over the grave we will be resurrected to eternal life.  Praise be to God, the Lord is risen indeed!

Brooksyne's Note:  I'm sure that many churches sang the traditional Easter hymn "He Lives", which we sang at the closing of our service yesterday.  My favorite line in this hymn is "You ask me how I know He lives?  He lives within my heart." 

The song writer, Alfred Ackley, was prompted to write this hymn following a conversation he had with a young Jewish student who had been attending evangelistic meetings Ackley was leading in the 1930's. 

The student asked him, "Why should I worship a dead Jew?"  Mr. Ackley responded, "He lives!  I tell you, He is not dead, but lives here and now!  Jesus Christ is more alive today than ever before.  I can prove it by my own experience, as well as the testimony of countless thousands."

The Scriptural evidence, Ackley's own heart, and the testimony of history matched the glorious experience of an innumerable cloud of witnesses that "He Lives," so he sat down at the piano and voiced that conclusion in song.  He says, "The thought of His ever-living presence brought the music promptly and easily" (from the book, "Forty Gospel Hymn Stories" by George W. Sanville.)

Yesterday afternoon Brooksyne and I took a walk and saw this beautiful variegated tulip
Variegated tulip (open) click to enlarge

Brooksyne thinks they're even prettier closed so this morning I took this photo of the very same flower.
Variegated tulip (closed)

Finally on this beautiful Monday morning while in the back of my home I snapped this photo of the silver maple as it greens out.

Silver maple  

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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