So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”
7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” 9 And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.
10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
1 Corinthians 15
15 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that
Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,
4 that he was buried,
that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,
5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.
6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time,
most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.
8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.
9 For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.
12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.
1 Corinthians 13:13
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 6:14
By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also.
I will tell of the kindnesses of the LORD, the deeds for which he is to be praised, according to all the LORD has done for us--yes, the many good things he has done for the house of Israel, according to his compassion and many kindnesses.
Lately, I have written of the struggles of dealing with a house with a very ill mother, recovering from 8 weeks of Pneumonia. And my husband having a terminal diagnosis of FTBD and his determination to have each day be as interesting and capable of joy and determination as possible.
We spent Saturday with family, loading my 83 year old mother in the car in her wheelchair to visit her very wonderful 86 year old boyfriend in the hospital recovering from a bite or sting that was infected in his arm. Mother got to see her house, go to lunch in wheelchair and to the Hospital where they both delighted to see each other. My brother held my mother for several minutes and told her he loved her. And he told me he loved me, too. Memories were made. Years were reaffirmed. And the fussy of reassembling was to be overcome.
So Sunday was better? We spoke of his old neighbor recovering from Cancer and her mail to them about the Cancer recovery. He related with some rare sadness, they had tried to plunge into Church, basically for the first time, but it had been a sadness they did not blend well. Their neighbor was a Pastor and she is in terminal Cancer discovery and remission failure just as they began to be neighbors.
They spoke of trying to be comfort to her and she was not receptive.
You know the truth is, most Church attendance in the USA begins in the age group of the 50s and 60s. And the story with that is - that's ok. The doors of the Church are open. It's just that, we shouldn't put all our emphasis on the closeness of people. A great-great grandfather of mine wrote that people go to Church to see their fine hat displayed. But, today, so many of the Churches are so large, that people say they leave for the leadership not being all that to them.
I had a woman psychologist I volunteered with say that her many years of being in Church ended when her pastor had affirmed her during her child's death, but had not been there for her when her marriage failed. She felt rather bitter about her Pastor. I asked her to write him a letter that was very respectful and to explain her emotions. She, being a Psychologist, ruefully laughed and said that she would have a difficult time being respectful. But as we prayed, we all agreed, the Pastor is a man with a job. Our job is to belong to Jesus.
The point of Church is not really how a Pastor behaves as a counselor or friend.
The point of Church is not to be seen in new clothes.
The point of Church is not to gather with friends.
The point of Church is what Jesus said to us about the Church that did not exist, in Caesarea. This is NOT Peter's great declaration alone. This is the Church of Jesus Christ of God.
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by My Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on the earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
We are presenting ourselves to God at the end of this life. We are forming a bridge, not just for our feelings, but for our children to observe, for Church, for the community to prosper, for society to have Heaven on earth and not hell.
We assemble together to Praise a Living God. For our lives to be ministers of His Word. We are the Temple of God, in our body. Bought with a Price of Jesus.
Can you imagine? This Jesus - who raised the dead many times and during the Resurrection itself. Who willingly touched the leper. And only one in 10 gave thanks. Who made the paralyzed go forth in victory. Who caused the blind from birth to see. Who took the deaf aside, away for the crowd, to have personal healing - this is the Son of God. Light of the World - who is Your God. - This is why we go to Church.
Today. This is this Jesus - to - you. This is who we Worship, Love and Affirm. Praise the Name of Jesus.
Today, we are living by faith. His Righteousness covers us. We worked so hard on Saturday and with weeks of ambulance rides, 12 hours of hospital visits. I was basically ill. We got up early visited my mother and then just fall over to one side and rest. For the next family event, my mother-in-law's birthday (not my mom with Pneumonia). About the time the day was settling, my two sons, and my son's new car had a blow out after a construction zone about an hour outside of Dallas. It was getting to be dark and no tow truck was answering after hours on a Sunday.
Everyone basically got loud voiced and opinionated and worried. The two loudest debated loudly and the two quieter ones discussed via text what the solutions where.
King of Kings. Lord of Lords. God is Love. Jesus our Redeemer.
I began to pray for all of us. For safety, For Jesus to put His arms around us. For the comfort of the Holy Spirit as Comforter. With the Love a Father has as He places His Arms around us. For Safety. These prayers, hold us to Jesus. Love happens. I pray for these 50 people daily. Results are seen. Even when it's just my soul staying open. However, prayers are answered.
Let me tell you, look around you. This funny world. Where TV is vulgar and the church-going laugh about the jokes. We dashed into an inner Dallas grocery store where the world is prosperous. To get cash for this tire. And a woman was reaching out the the grocery store clerk, holding her hand. A woman who was sophisticated and had elan. She was telling the grocer, "I pray for you. I am praying for your daughter this week. I am hopeful to hear good news next week." The black woman and the white women held hands across the counter. Everyone in the Dallas grocery turned to see. All cared.
I would bet with you, the whole grocery store prayed at that moment.
The time had been taken for two people who are believers of Christ Jesus to communicate in the time they saw each other each week. Speak up. Life is still beautiful. Jesus is the Light of the World.
We got to the Adult Book Store to do the u-turn in Corsicana. It's gratifyingly empty for our many trips up and down I-45. How does that place stay in business? Well, it's pretty full on Sunday nights, sadly. And we got to our sons and the car resting for 1.5 - 2 hours on the side of the busy Interstate. Three Corsicana police cars rode past them. (Now I am Pro Police, in a big way for my brother serving as attorney for 5 years to the Dallas Police, but we saw speeding tickets being collected, what about the two on the side of the road? What did Corsicana police think stranded motorists were going to do about dark on a Sunday night? The four tow truck services did not answer. We found that not all new cars do not arrive with a spare donut even.)
But I want to tell you this.
I'm going to find this man's name again and write it here tomorrow. We are all going to make a yelp comment for him. This man told them to check again with the tow service, that would be best and safest. He replied he would help when no one else would answer the call. He spent almost two hours going to Fairfax to get a tire that would work when his four donuts would not. And for his efforts as the dark arrived on a Sunday night, he asked for $120 for a tire and his service and his time. This is the America I grew up in. Gouging was not part of helping stranded people. Jesus the Lord bless the Good Samaritan. Bless him and bless him and bless him. My sons met a true Gentleman.
Father God, Father of the World, Giver of Jesus, God of Love,
Help us to serve one another, to use our gifts, each day to be good stewards of God's varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.
In the Joy of Jesus, to work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.
As we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
Even a cup of coffee given with goodness, has it's reward. Jesus bless her. Bless the man giving the tire and his Sunday night. Thank You, for the warning of the oncoming truck was avoided. For our safety. For redemption from our flaws, our weaknesses, for the upbuilding of our lives to the glory of Christ Jesus. In gratitude for His Grace, Love and Mercy.
For building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. In His Steadfast, daily Love. As sure as the sunrise and as sure as the tide.
To equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.
Each day as His mercies renew. To comprehend, how high, how wide, how loved - you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
♔ Lord Jesus Saves! †