Did we come from a tooth-and-claw struggle for survival or from a peaceable kingdom?
Will the universe end in heat death or eternal paradise?
Our picture of history’s beginning reflects our conception of God, whether He is kind or cruel, good or bad.
And our picture of history’s end reflects our understanding of God’s power, whether He can achieve His vision for humanity or not.
Come, hear author Dana Sudboro speak on Paradise, Our Past, Our Future.
May 15th, 2:30 pm, at the Emmanuel Korean Baptist Church, 9242 Kiefer Blvd, Sacramento. Directions
“Jesus wept.” (John 11:35 NKJV)
At the passing of Lazarus, our sorrow moved Jesus to tears. He hated death. He hated its ravages of our hearts. But not helplessly. To give a glimpse of the glory to come, Jesus shouted, “Lazarus, come forth.” And Lazarus walked out of the tomb alive, to be hugged by Mary and Martha and all his friends and neighbors.
At Easter we celebrate an even bigger victory—Jesus alive in His glorified body, never to suffer, never to grow old, never to feel weak or tired or thirsty again.
We look forward to paradise where we will dance, sing, and roam in resurrection bodies like His. Never to be separated from Him or other loved ones. No sickness, no poverty, no weakness or sorrow. Only rapturous love, of which our present intimacies are merest shadows.
Thank, you, Lord. You are truly, as you promised Martha, the Resurrection and the Life.
Posted in Devotionals
Tagged death, Easter, glorified bodies, Lazarus, mourning, paradise, rapturous love, resurrection, sorrow, sorrow of parting, tears
Folded Word’s Twitterzine PicFic recently published the shortest story I’ve ever written. Actually it’s a tiny excerpt from Continents Apart. You may read it here under the title “Alliterate Love.”
My words may have made it to Twitter, but I haven’t. Yet.
“In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thess. 5:18, NKJV)
What! Does this include misunderstandings between me and my wife? You and your soul mate?
Jose Ortega y Gassett said, “To be surprised, to wonder, is to begin to understand.”
Unless my wife’s words or actions stop me in my tracks—amaze and confound me—I will never advance in understanding her.
If I go blithely on, thinking she should think and act with my perspective and presuppositions, I’ll never awake to the mystery of her uniqueness. Never ask the right questions. Never slow down enough to wait and listen. Or listen and wait.
Thank God for the brick wall of misunderstanding that—crash or soft landing—forces me to get to know her. Likewise misunderstandings with my Heavenly Bridegroom.
“I slept but my heart was awake. Listen! My lover is knocking: ‘Open to me, my sister, my darling, my dove, my flawless one.’” (Song of Songs 5:2 NIV)
The saddest moment in the Song of Songs is when the bride hears her bridegroom’s knock, but doesn’t rise to meet him until after he’s gone away. Yes, they’re reconciled later–after the bride has spent anxious hours looking everywhere for him–but through the experience she learns to put inconvenience aside and respond to his invitation.
How inconvenient is prayer? How softly does the Savior knock? Is He worth stepping out of a warm bed onto a cold floor to answer the door for? If we listen carefully, we’ll hear the answer in His words of affection for us, “My sister, my darling, my dove, my flawless one.”
No one in the whole universe loves us more sweetly, tenderly, wholeheartedly, or affirmatively.
“You gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head.” (Luke 7:44, NKJV)
Exuberant love. Bathing Jesus feet in tears, toweling with her hair, lavishing perfume worth several months’ wages. Not inhibited by the critical stare of the Pharisee. Who had ever seen such love? From where did it come?
Jesus told a parable to explain, “He who is forgiven much, loves much.” Her copious tears of joy came from experiencing the glorious height and depth and breadth of God’s forgiveness. His love flooded her soul and overflowed.
Can this be the secret of true love? Experiencing God’s forgiveness, His inestimable gift in Jesus upon the cross, and allowing such love to surge through us to the people in our lives.
“Flowers appear on the earth… and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.” (Song of Solomon 2:12, NKJV)
According to the Song of Solomon, all five senses enhance our romantic mood: the taste of apples, the sight of lilies, the feel of the north wind, the fragrance of garden spices, and the voice of turtledoves. What do turtledoves say? Coo, coo—no words at all—sweet nothings. Yet what a message of love! Sometimes our communion with Jesus is that way, simply sitting in His presence, drinking in His sweetness in silence.
“…I will come and dine with her, and she with Me.” (Rev 3:20 pronouns adjusted)
Candlelight supper with Jesus… or picnic under a cherry tree… or quiet talk over scones and latte. How can we decline an invitation like that? What an opportunity to reflect, confide, sound out His heart on matters we care deeply about.
The irony is Jesus has given us a standing invitation. Only prerequisite? Hear his voice. That’s right, reread this familiar verse, check it out. “I stand at the door and knock. If any woman hear my voice…”
We skim right over the invitation and discard it as not applying to us, because we’ve already invited Jesus into our lives as Savior and Lord. But wait! There are many private areas where we invite only our most trusted confidantes.
Perhaps Jesus is whispering softly, “Would you like to share this nook with me, too? I promise to be kind, gentle, understanding… ”
How can we pass up a rendezvous like that?
“Jesus wept.” (John 11:35NKJV)
Jesus wept—for Martha, for Mary, for the friends and family grieving their beloved Lazarus, for the crowd overwhelmed by death’s tragedy. Their sorrow became His sorrow.
Later, not too many days off, Jesus would bear their afflictions upon a cruel cross then conquer death to remove its sting. But for the moment, He simply shared their grief—loving us not just in word and deed, but in the deepest emotion possible.
Don’t you think He’ll understand, if you tell Him what you’re feeling now?
“Like an apple tree among the trees of the woods, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down in his shade with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.” (Song of Solomon 2:3 NKJV)
A quiet moment with Jesus. Taking time to sit in His shade. Smell the grass. Watch the light-and-leaf show. Bite into His sweet promises. Feel the trickle of juice. Hear whispers of His Spirit.
Better than a chocolate snatched in haste. Better than java slurped on the run.
No one listens like Jesus, no one knows our yearnings or cares quite like Him.
Worth stopping the clock, getting out of the car, hiking into the woods to experience.