We have a heavenly target and our heading set, but we still live in a temporal setting, a “not yet” world and for that reason we are “becomings”. We are always “becoming,” either for better or worse.

So, Jesus prayed in a garden, was arrested and fettered in a garden, died and was buried in a garden. That means he also rose from the dead in a garden, since that’s where the tomb was located (John 20:1ff).

Just those three words probably remind most readers of this article of that old gospel song “There is Power in the Blood of the Lamb” that was used so often in days gone by in tent and revival meetings. And, indeed, those words are true, but let us consider some other thoughts about power. It seems that people are impressed with power whether it be political power, national power, mechanical power, electrical power, muscular power, etc., etc... the list goes on.

As a Christian, there is certainly one thing we can do in regard to our own spirits. We can determine to never be “offended” by another in this manner. In other words, we must endeavor to not allow anything another might say or do to keep us from walking with the Lord and being an active part of His body. If following the Lord is the most important thing in our life, we must make it true.

In studying through the gospels, it becomes clear that each writer presents tremendous evidence of Christ’s resurrection, but not always with the same details. In this article, I will present a chronological narrative of the resurrection encompassing all details provided by the four inspired authors. I pray you will find this aerial view helpful in your own study. Due to constraints, references will include only one gospel reference. Any additional commentary has been italicized.

These six women who did what was right in Exodus 1-4 literally changed the world by what they chose to do. Four women who were slaves, one a princess, and one who was a shepherd’s wife saved the day and are the heroes of the story, making it possible for Moses and Aaron to have their day and learn to become heroes as well.

This verse is talking about temptations and our ability to resist them, NOT the overloads that life presents us with.  Terrible things that are beyond our control do happen and we might indeed legitimately say, “This is more than I can bear.”  But temptations are under our control; we always have a choice in the matter.  And there always is a godly choice provided.

On the other hand, productive misery is a lonely, but necessary, journey. It is guided by the hope of something better. We can take no one with us as we examine the fruit of our behavior. No one can think for us. No one can appreciate for us. No one can regret for us. No one can repent for us. No one can yield to the hope of good news for us. God will do none of those things for us. We must do it alone. However, God makes it possible for us to accomplish those things.

Elijah was a deeply discouraged man.  He had lost hope and had lost heart.  Life was no longer worth living.  His was a wasted existence.  There was no use in even trying anymore.  What could be said or done to help this man overcome his discouragement?  God shows us the way.  

When Moses boldly asked God to “show me Your glory,” the Lord responded, “No man can see my face and live” (Exodus 33:18, 20).  Man, tainted by sin, cannot bear to be in the presence of God.  Jesus says, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”  How do we purify our hearts?

Cornelius “feared God” (verse 2). This was a technical term that the Jews used to refer to pagans who had abandoned, or did not follow, the pagan religions, but instead favored the worship of Jehovah.  Gentiles at this time and place in the world could have varying degrees of adherence to Judaism.  They could be benefactors like the centurion in Luke 7:1-10, who supported the Jewish community and presumably were sympathetic to Jewish beliefs.  There were “God-fearers” like the one here in our text, Acts 10:2, and others such as Acts 13:16, 16:14, 17:4.  There is an important mention of this category of “God-fearers” in an inscription from approximately 210 A.D. in Aphrodisias in modern Turkey.  

And what a wonderful blessing it is to realize that our TRUE treasures here in this life are not silver and gold, wealth and status, power and position, but rather loving relationships, with God and with those who have become our family.  At the bottom of the human heart is the place where such loving relationships flourish.  They are the foundation of joy in this life. 

Words like fellowship and communion convey the meaning that they could not be achieved individually but only as part of a group. And, to take this a little further, the implication in each of these is that it could only be satisfied through physical contact and not remote access. One thing that seems to muddy the waters at times is how some define the word church. In the New Testament, it comes from the Greek word ekklesia essentially meaning the assembly or congregation. In this we are not talking about brick and mortar, but the physical assembling of believers.

Should we not seek to have a discerning heart, to understand what is right in God’s eyes?  Will not God be pleased with such efforts? Later in his life, Solomon, using his God given wisdom, wrote, “For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding” (Proverbs 2:6).  God’s word is the source for our discernment.

Because the church has been built by our Lord and continues to be governed by Him through His Scriptures, His church is not ours to manipulate to our image.  To be sure, it can be left by those who refuse to submit to His will, but it cannot be changed by man.  The letters to five of the seven churches in the Revelation letter teach that individual congregations can depart and separate from the Lord, but these unfaithful congregations cannot change the Lord’s church as a whole.  It remains complete and safe under His care.

The kind of peace Christ promises is unique. John 14:27: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”  When the world offers peace, it requires compromise. The world says if you want your problems to go away, you need to give up some of your convictions. Even if you do get a little peace in the world, it will never last long. Peace in Christ is different. This kind of peace is secure, built on conviction and faith. 

Not trusting his brothers on that occasion, after weeping privately, Joseph manipulated circumstances in order to force them to bring their youngest brother to him in Egypt, probably intending to protect Benjamin from the caprices of the men who had already betrayed one younger brother and their own father. Eventually, the brothers were compelled to do as Joseph directed and return to Egypt a second time to purchase food, bringing their youngest brother along. For the second time, Joseph dealt with them as though he were a stranger, speaking through an interpreter, but when he saw his younger brother once again, now a grown man, Joseph went aside and “he entered his chamber and wept there” (Genesis 43:29-30). Joseph wept.

In the years that the young man David spent fleeing from jealous King Saul, a story in 1 Samuel 23:1-14 tells of a time when David actively led his band of outcasts to rescue a town of Judah, named Keilah, from marauding Philistines. Before David set out on his rescue mission, he inquired of the Lord whether he should go or not and was assured that he should go. Some of David’s men were afraid, so David inquired a second time and was again assured by God he should go, and that God would give him victory over the Philistines. David did win a great victory, as promised, winning spoils of war and saving the inhabitants of Keilah.

In six days, God created all that is. Having created the heavens, the earth and all that is in them, He owns it all. “Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the LORD'S thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is” (Deuteronomy 10:14). Other scriptures that express this same concept are Psalm 24:1; Psalm 89:11; Genesis 14:19, 22; Exodus 19:5; and 1 Corinthians 10:26 to name a few. The truth of His ownership is spread so pervasively throughout scripture that we ought to consider its implications for us. God owns all that is.  Therefore, anything that I have is His.

In May, 2017, The Gospel Message published an article entitled “The Church & Our Sisters” in which I offered what I believe to be the Bible’s answers to the following two questions: (1) What does it mean to be “in church” (1 Corinthians 14:28, 35)? and (2) What is the role of our sisters “in church”?   In response to that article, as well as to public teaching on the subject before and since, several questions have consistently come up which deserve attention.  In this article, I’d like to take up just a couple of those (and, perhaps, in a future article, we can address others).