Easter Day 3: Resurrection

The last guest post from Josiah Cooper with a dynamic description of Easter Sunday

Easter post 3 of 3:

Dawn broke on the first day of the week, signaling the end of the Sabbath. The preparations for Jesus’ body before His burial had been incomplete the weekend before because the Sabbath was drawing near, and now those He loved were on their way to the

Guards at the Tomb

Guards at the Tomb

tomb to finish their labor of love. Two obstacles stood in their way, the Roman guard placed by Pilate at the request of the religious leaders, and greater still was the stone that sealed the entrance to the tomb.

Suddenly, as they draw near, the ground begins to shake violently and a bright light outshining the dawn explodes from the direction of the grave. The Roman guard, who have been skillfully trained to fear nothing, wither in fear and pass out as

As dead men

As dead men

“dead men”. As the ground ceases its trembling, the ladies see the stone has been rolled away and a mighty angel sitting on it as though he is expecting them. His message is short and simple: “Jesus isn’t here”! He shows them the place where Jesus lay and tells them that they will see Him in Galilee.

Jesus has had a long weekend. Not only did He have to to go through the whole dying thing, but what we don’t often consider is the necessity of His death. Death was His ticket to the underworld where He did suffer for the sins of the world until the moment the Father said “ENOUGH”. Hearing His Father’s voice, a voice He had not heard since since He was forsaken at Calvary, brought new life into His being, and the tables of Hell were turned! The very chains that bound Him in torment He seized and with them He chained together sin and death. Looking over and seeing the souls in the graves, He turned and locked eyes with Satan, the former Angel of Light, whose countenance at this point must have been

Keys to Hell and Death

Keys to Hell and Death

priceless. In an instant, Jesus has him by the collar, demanding the keys to Hades, and snatching them from Lucifer’s bony fingers he leads captivity captive and frees those in the prison of Hell.

“ARISE, MY LOVE!” The words carry such power as Jesus’ soul returns to His body that the earth shakes and men tremble. An angel is dispatched from the heavens, his broadsword at the ready, wings flared at his decent to earth, surrounded in purest light. Sheathing his sword behind him, he leans into the stone and effortlessly moves it aside, taking a seat atop it as he waits to deliver his glorious message: “Why seek ye the living among the dead?…But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.”

As they left the tomb, the stunning message and reminder from the angel ringing in their ears, Jesus Himself meets them on the road. He greets them, affirming what the angel has said and promises to see them soon.

They return to the house where the disciples have been hiding out and tell them the good news “Jesus is risen!” Peter and John rush to the tomb to see for themselves going inside, they see the place where He lay and the linen garment that had wrapped His head folded neatly. Marveling to themselves, they leave, very curious about what is to come next.

Two men are walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus and a stranger joins them, listening to their conversation as they travel. They are discussing the events of the past weekend and their despair that the man they had hoped would be their Messiah and deliver them from Roman oppression had been so savagely cut down and killed. The stranger begins talking with them about their history and how prophecies for centuries had foretold what the Messiah would be and what He would do. His voice and manner of speech sound familiar, and when He looks away, Cleopas catches the eye of His friend and mouths “who is this guy?”, only to get an expression of similar bewilderment as his answer.

Entering Emmaus, the trio draws near to a house and the stranger implies that He is going further, but Cleopas and his friend invite him to dinner. Something about this guy and his knowledge of the scriptures is so magnetic and rich that they’re not ready to say

The Road to Emmaus

The Road to Emmaus

“goodbye” just yet. The men sit down to eat. Wine is poured, and the stranger offers to say grace. Taking the bread in his hands, he prays “blessed are You oh LORD our God who brings forth bread from the earth”. Breaking it, he offers a half to each of the other two men. Their eyes burst from their faces as everything becomes crystal clear, for they are looking at the hands of Him who was pieced! Looking up at one another, speechless, they turn to Jesus only to find that He has disappeared!

Such excitement fills them that they run the entire 7 miles back to Jerusalem to tell the disciples again the news they’ve already heard “The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon.” As they recount the story, Jesus appears in their midst greets them with peace. Revealing His scars, He invites them to touch and see for themselves that

He Is Risen

He Is Risen

they might believe. To add to His reality, they give him food, which He eats, proving that He is no ghost, but very much the Jesus that they know and love.

Jesus is risen, He is risen indeed!

Easter Post Day 2

Another guest post from Josiah Cooper Part 2 out of 3

Day 2:  Confusion and disappointment

Disappointed Disciples

Disappointed Disciples

After Jesus’ death, the people most closely involved must have experienced a wide range of emotions. His own mother had watched him die and is in the care of John the Beloved. Is she grieving? Does she find peace in knowing that it was to this end He was born? Does she remember His promise to rise again?
His disciples are scattered, and as we will later find, many of His followers are completely shattered as their hope of a military leader/deliverer had just been executed.

Torn Veil

Torn Veil In the Temple

The religious leaders are completely bewildered concerning the events that occurred as Christ breathed His last. The earth had shaken, great darkness had fallen, and the veil of the temple rent in twain! Still, they are somewhat relieved that they can carry on with their ritual feast and sacrifices, completely unaware that the final Sacrifice has just been made! Even they cannot shake their own concern, as they consult with the governor to have a guard placed at the tomb because they remembered better than His disciples His promise to rise again.
I’m the meantime Jesus is in Hades preaching to the souls held captive there. Even in death He does the will of His Father.
The Sabbath is passing, and life is beginning to return to normal after the events of the weekend.

Or are they?

Stay tuned…

Easter Post 1

Easter Day One

I am happy to present this guest blog from my son, Josiah Cooper.  In three consecutive posts, he covers the death, burial, and resurrection from a very different perspective.  I hope you will enjoy.

Happy Good Friday, my friends!

Today we remember the dismal account of Jesus’ road to the cross. I feel though that we often overlook the greater spiritual conflict that took place.

Jesus, being fully human and fully divine acknowledged “The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.” Mark 14:38. He was quick to remind his disciples as he was being arrested “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?” Matthew 26:53.

legions of angels

legions of angels

My historical expertise fails me as to what a legion numbers, but suffice it to say, that’s a lot of angels! (Further research has shown that a Roman Legion was 6,000, making twelve legions of 72,000 angels!!) And they are no cherubs playing harps. These guys are William Wallace-meets-The Rock with wings, and they are poised for action with their hands on the hilts of their broadswords!

But Jesus would not be kept from His divine destiny, and holds His peace that He might ransom you and me!

Pilate’s wife was even troubled in her dreams concerning Jesus, and sent word to her governor husband to have nothing to do with Jesus in judgment.  In a final blow to the

Wooden cross

Wooden cross

forces of darkness, as Jesus breathed His last, the earth itself revolted! The sky turns black, the ground shakes so violently that the dead are awakened and enter Jerusalem and “appear to many” – Matthew 27:52-53.

The entire universe felt the effects of Jesus’ death, but none so significantly as the powers of hell themselves…

…stay tuned.

Missions Are For Missionaries

How missions benefit missionaries

The general view of missionary work is that the missionary goes to a land to teach people the Gospel of Christ while helping them with essential needs.  So, people who have never been on a mission trip think it is a great and noble sacrifice for the sake of others.

Medical Missions.DAY 04 (44)

Samaritan’s PurseDAY 04 (53)

Missionary distribution of food and clothing.

VISION MISSIONS

Provision International

Missionary building projects for churches and private homes.

Amor Mission Trips to Mexico

However, it is a well known fact in the missions community that the “others” are not the only DAY 04 (98)ones helped.  When church groups come back DAY 04 (66)from a foreign culture, the look of joy and wonderment on their faces does not come from the blessings they bestowed on the natives.  It comes from the blessings the natives bestowed upon them.

They stole my heart!

I still remember a young lady giving a report to the church about a mission trip to Mexico.  She held the microphone for quite a few seconds, and after she regained her composure, she simply said, “Those children stole my heart.”

In the book, From Woodstock To Eternity, Dustin Morgan and his wife Lisa go on a mission trip to the island of Granada.  Having come out of a hectic lifestyle in which he thought Christianity would be boring, he was amazed to witness the Gospel in action.

Grenada is a purging, cleansing experience.  Dustin and Lisa feel like the mission trip is doing more for them than they are doing for the people.  Every evening, members of their team gather on one of the street corners, play their guitars, and sing praises to the Lord.  Morgan’s heart warms him from the inside as he basks in the confidence that he is right where he needs to be. 

While they are singing, many locals gather around to listen or join in, clapping along in their rhythmical, island beat.  Suddenly, Pastor Terry steps out in the open air and starts to proclaim a message about the saving power of Jesus.  They are having a revival right here in the middle of the street!  A couple of local islanders raise their hand to get saved and walk up to the Pastor.  He lays his hands on their heads and they bow in prayer.  Dustin whispers in Lisa’s ear,

“I tell you what, I never would have seen anything like this in my old days.  I feel like we are experiencing something that has been going on for centuries.  I bet people felt the same Spirit when George Whitefield was preaching in the colonies, or even when Paul was on Mars Hill in Athens.  I had no idea being a Christian would be anything like this.

You can see how this would impact Dustin and Lisa’s faith.  They saw Jesus in action.  They witnessed the Holy Spirit move and change people’s lives.  They shared the joy with people from a different culture, making them all brothers and sisters in the Lord.

This experience greatly influenced Dustin and Lisa, but years later, when they had children, they did the same thing together as a family.  And guess what?  The little children stole their hearts away.

See Missions Are For Families

Mission Trips For The Family

Mission Trips: The best tool for building Faith

The most common statistic I hear in churches is the percentage of children, raised by Christian parents, who fall away from the Lord when they leave the house.  This is devastating for the next generation.  The leftist doctrines of immorality and rebellion against authority are spreading like wildfire, and the only force to stand against the tide areDAY 01 (37) good, solid Christians.  Therefore, it is paramount to raise good solid Christian children who will become the future fighters against this wave of evil.  Mission trips can be a very effective tool for this.

When a child goes astray, the phrase you hear over and over is, “We did all we could!”  That may be true but let me add one vital element to building the faith of a young adult, or a new believer of any age.

SHOW THEM A PERSONAL JESUS!!  Don’t talk about Him, talk to Him.  Pray together DAY 03 (56)as a family for Jesus to help with problems, and then celebrate with them when He does.

They need to see Jesus in action.  This is where mission trips come in.

FAMILY MISSION TRIPS are the most effective.  If the father can make arrangements to serve in a foreign country on the family vacation, it accomplishes many things.

  1. It causes the children to see their father as a leader and a spiritual authority.
  2. It shows the father leading by example to sacrifice time and worldly enjoyment for the Gospel of Jesus.DAY 03 (54)
  3. Family mission trips build unity that is directed to a good cause – helping people in need.
  4. They expose children to deep spiritual enjoyment that builds a bond as a family, and with Christ.

CHURCH MISSION TRIPS are also effective for the same goals, and have the advantage of more funding and better connections.  However, there are some cautions for parents.

  1. Peer influence can be good or bad, depending on the youth.
  2. Young romances and impressionable bonds can spring up that may not be a good thing.

Good things that come from Church Missions are:

  1. DAY 05 (56)Youth can get out of their bubble and see how other cultures live.  This usually builds a great sense of gratitude for what they have at home.
  2. They can experience work and sacrifice for no return, and feel good about it.DAY 03 (143)
  3. They can see faces of people light up as they hear the message of Jesus.  This may be the first time they really experience Jesus in action.  And this builds great faith.

So, for all of these blessings that are experienced by the missionaries, you can see how the people usually affected the most by missions are the missionaries.

Next Article:  MISSIONS FOR THE MISSIONARY

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Today I Waved Goodbye to my Baby Girl

You would think I would have gotten used to this by now.  The car rolling down the driveway.  Me standing on the porch waving as they disappear out of sight.  I have four daughters, and I have gone through this three times before.car driving away

The first one was the hardest, because I knew she wasn’t coming back.  The day before, I had just walked her down the aisle and given her away.  She wasn’t mine anymore.  My heart was ripped out.  It didn’t matter that she married a great guy, and that I was going to get grandkids

bride driving awayThe next two weren’t any better.  One moving two states away for a great job, another rolling down the driveway with a brand new husband.

One of the greatest blessings God can give is children who are bonded to each other and with you in Christ.  The depths of love are unsearchable.  The bonds are deep and strong.  He empowers you to train them for great things – to be salt and light in a crooked and perverse generation.

But then – you don’t want to let them go.

Now my baby girl is 22 years old.  Only a father can understand the special bond that he has for his baby girl.  They occupy a secret place in the heart that is reserved only for them.

She has already done great things for Jesus.  People wonder why she is starting college at 22.

salt and light“Well,” she would say, ” that’s what happens when you devote 2 years of your life in Taiwan, teaching English and ministering Jesus to children .”

I didn’t like it when she went to Taiwan, either.  But here is the dilemma.  You raised them to do great things for God, you encouraged them to do great things for God, and now it’s time to go and do great things forbe separate God!  There’s only one problem.  I don’t want her to go.  What a miserable wretch I am.

I am so immensely proud of my girls.  God go with you.  Your generation is going to need you more than ever.

Dad

Fathers and Children Part II

Show Them a Personal Jesus

Dustin Morgan get his first introduction to a personal Jesus at Living Word Christian Fellowship in the book, From Woodstock To Eternity,

Pastor J. R. knows about spiritual things.  As the man of God who built Living Word up from the beginning, he has founded the church on preaching a personal Jesus.  This is why the members talk to Him instead of about Him.  J. R. makes the Bible come alive, regarding it as a manual with answers for life.  When he reads out of the Gospels, Jesus seems to jump out of the pages. Jesus healing sick

When He is healing the sick in the Bible, He is right here to heal your sickness today.  When He is casting out demons in the Bible, He is right here to cast them out of you today.  At the end of every service, people go forward to receive healings and deliverance.  The place is full of joy every Sunday as people share their stories about what Jesus did for them during the week.

What is noteworthy is that Dustin has been raised in church and never thought about Jesus this way.  He never experienced the move of the Holy Spirit, his parents did not pray for Jesus to heal him when he was sick.  They did not ask Him for help when times got tough.  Hence, Jesus was not a personal force in his life.

Three Ways that Showing a Personal Jesus Binds Fathers and Children

  1.   Make the distinction between Religious Obligation vs. Personal Jesus
  • Children grow up and leave the church, or like Dustin Morgan, never really get church when it is presented as a religious obligation.  That is, go every Sunday because you have to.
  • They are much more likely to stay with Jesus when they are raised with Him as a real Spirit that has affected their lives.

2.  Teach them along the way  Deuteronomy 6:6-9

OpenBible“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.  “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.  

3.  Beware that even a Personal Jesus can become a religious tradition

  • Spiritual intention to see all of life through God’s eyes becomes a “phylactery”

“You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.  “You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

  • PhylacteriePhylacteries are Scriptures Jews put in boxes and wrapped on their foreheads to be “frontlets” between the eyes.
  • The danger of all religious obligations and traditions is it gives the false sense of security that you are pleasing God without having to give up your control over your life.

A Personal Jesus Means God is in Control of your Life

Fathers Hearts to Children

God’s Perspective on Children

Psalm 127:3-5  Behold, children are a blessing from the Lord, The fruit of the womb is His Grandpa and Orrinreward.

The first note in the workbook for the Basic Seminar by the Institute in Basic Life Principles is the definition of wisdom.

“Wisdom is seeing life from God’s perspective.”

This includes when His perspective is not what you want to hear.  This conflict is particularly evident when it comes to the issue of children.  I actually heard a speaker say from the pulpit, “God, please don’t bless me that way, I’ve already got my three, and they are more than I can handle.”

When it comes to having and caring for children, God’s Perspective is diametrically opposed to man’s perspective.

  •  Man’s Perspective:  Try to limit the number of children
  • God’s Perspective:  Try to have more children – More blessings
  • Man’s Perspective:  Children are a burden.  Get in the way of fun, career, etc.
  • God’s Perspective:  Godly offspring is your purpose in life.  They are His reward

Every year I hear jokes about how glad parents are when school starts, because the kids are going to be gone.  How do you think this makes the kids feel?  How would you like spanking kidssomeone to say they will be happy when you are gone?  God’s attitude is to enjoy them when they are around, and be sorry when they leave.  Of course, they are more of a joy to have around when you impose God’s perspective of discipline on them.

Nothing worse than a house full of spoiled kids!

Is It God or Is It The Devil?

3 Temptations of the Devil

Matthew 4:1-10

1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. …

Temptation 1:  To rely on earthly Provision and Solutions apart from the

direction of faith.

3 Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that

Stones into bread

these stones become bread.” 4 But He answered and said, “It is

Word of God

written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ”

Temptation 2:  Think you can do anything you want, and God will still protect you.  Twist Scripture to justify your own wants.NX_angel_wings_spread

5 Then the devil …said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written:  ‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ ”
7 Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not 1 tempt the LORD your God.’ ”

Temptation 3:  Abandon God’s will for your life to pursue the world’s dreams and goals

Blue Goals Word Showing Objectives Hope Aiming Mission And Future

8 Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, andcareer climb showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”
10 Then Jesus said to him, 2 “Away with you, Satan! For it is mom with kidswritten, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ”

Lifestyles Cause Situations

3 Elements of Self Improvement:  Acknowledgement, Analysis, Accountability

An automatic reaction takes place in most people when things go wrong, or when we are corrected for our actions.  The correction can come from a human source such as a boss, but it can also come from a Divine Source in situations that we find ourselves in.  The initial response is usually to make an excuse, or  deflect blame to another source, anything to keep from accepting the responsibility.

Why do we do this?  Because if we are responsible, then we will have to change something.  And if you think everything you do is just fine, then what’s to change?

Dustin Morgan was faced with this reality when he found himself staring at the cold, cinder block walls of a jail cell.  In From Woodstock To Eternity, he is forced to Acknowledge the failure, Analyze what led up to it, and take Accountability for his actions.

Most of the time, when people get caught doing something wrong, they’re not sorry for what they did, but for the fact that they got caught.  They analyze the execution of their plan to see where they messed up, but they never admit that there was anything wrong with the plan in the first place. 

“If I had only done this, or not done that, then it would have worked.”

In this case, it wasn’t the execution – it was the plan!  The vial of coke was there, because that’s how he had planned to live. 

As he stares at the blank, pale yellow walls of his prison cubicle, he knows that as long as he continues living this way, the vulnerability will be there – like stripes on a tiger.  No amount of precautions or self-imposed checks and balances will guarantee it won’t happen again.  There will always be a forgotten roach in the ashtray, an open container in the car, a misplaced film tin in the trunk, an empty vial in the suitcase.  And they will always lead back to this place.  It’s worse than that.  The next time he gets caught, it’ll lead to the state penitentiary.

1.  Acknowledgement – It’s Not Working:  You have to admit something is wrong before

Stop Computer Key

you will ever try to fix it.  This is the hardest part, because if we do admit that something is wrong in our life, then that means we have to fix it.  That means change.

2. Analyze the Root Cause:  Decisions have consequences, but our decisions come out of our lifestyles.  Our lifestyle is where we

Problems Or Solutions

have put the treasure of our heart – friends, activities, style, fads, language, etc.  If your lifestyle is undisciplined, your decisions will tend toward avoiding self discipline.  If you are hard working and organized, your decisions will tend toward taking on the task.

3.  Accountability – Accepting the Blame and Creating Solutions: bible closed This is the final key to self improvement.  Take responsibility and come up with a new plan that will avoid the mistakes of the past and pave the way for a better future.  Dustin Morgan vowed to raise his family up in the Lord, and he did.  This one commitment changed his life and that of those around him for the better.