by Donna Butler
Luke 9:23-24 - Then He said to them all, “If anyone wants to follow after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it.”
Following Jesus is a daily sacrifice of all that we are…spirit, soul, and body. In past times, the slaying of an animal was given as an offering. Grains, fruits, and incense as well were graciously offered in gratitude as an offering to God. Our Creator set the ultimate example by sending His one and only Son as the Gift of love. Jesus willingly gave all that He was, spirit, soul and body, as a price for all that we are - a spirit controlled by a self-centered, sinful soul, and a flesh-satisfying, flawed body. So to be asked to give Him our filthy, tattered, war-battered vessel for a robe of righteousness (Isaiah 61:10) and a pure, clean heart (Ezekiel 36:25-27) is a no brainer!
We are a spirit, who God created to intimately communicate with Him. He loves us that much! There is nowhere on, above, or below this earth, or in the spiritual realm, that His Spirit can’t reach us (Psalm 139:7-12).
Our souls (mind, will, emotions) need direction or they will run-a-muck! Have you ever seen the movie “Inside Out”? It is a hilarious, artistic vision of the reality of our souls. It’s also a sobering reminder of why we need to be led and guided by the directorship of the Holy Spirit. We need a Helper who will speak truth and wisdom (John 16:12-13), a Counselor who teaches us all things pertaining to life and godliness, and a Comforter that intercedes for us. The One who gives us gifts to operate in that benefits the whole Body of Christ.
Our bodies are the amazing handiwork of God. Same and different in tandem. We all have organs, bones, blood, skin, etc. All this is orchestrated by individual cells with a spark of our Creator in each one! His breath of life flows through our veins! Yet, each outer covering is a uniquely and expertly crafted piece of art.
So, when Jesus says in order to follow Him, we must deny ourselves, He’s talking about making a choice in our souls. A daily decision to allow the Holy Spirit to lead and guide our spirit. Our soul and body must align with the wisdom of the Creator of the universe. To buck up against that kind of logic is to declare that we know better and can do better without His counsel! Let me know how that’s been working for you. Here’s an alternate choice: “In You, O LORD, do I put my trust and confidently take refuge; let me never be put to shame or confusion.” Psalm 71:1
the only one!
Written by Susan Stedman
Easter means many things to many people. To some, it represents the Earth coming back to life with spring. Many pagans celebrate fertility goddesses with eggs representing new birth. Some put no religious connotation to it at all and just take their kids to Easter egg hunts with no thought to the meaning. Then there are Christians, who have in recent times, begun to call this day “Resurrection Sunday” because it is the day which we celebrate Jesus having risen from his tomb three days after the Crucifixion.
I used to wonder why people said three days because if you counted Friday afternoon to Saturday afternoon, you got one day, then till Sunday morning, that was about another half day. When I was older, I looked into this question and found an answer. Jewish people counted any part of a day as a whole day, so Friday, Saturday, and Sunday were considered three days.
With insatiable curiosity about almost everything, I once spent a day researching historical records that would prove or disprove that Jesus the man actually lived. I was pleasantly surprised at what I found. There were several contemporaries in the time of Christ whose written works still exist. The most important was a first-century Jewish historian (he was not Jewish, he was Roman, he just wrote histories of the Jewish people) named Flavius Josephus. He wrote in his “Testimonium Flavianum” about the reputation of Jesus, whom he called a Jewish wise man. He specifically noted that “Pilate condemned him to a cross but he appeared to them (ones who first came to love Jesus), spending a third day restored to life, for the prophets of God had foretold…”
I don’t have room to go into all the others but:
I was satisfied, so I moved on to wondering what I could find about the Tomb of Jesus. There are several spots that have been considered to be the actual Tomb of Christ. The most celebrated and plausible is The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Christian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. It is built not only at the supposed tomb but also over the area called Golgotha. The belief that this is the actual tomb dates back to the fourth century.
There is another contender called The Garden Tomb which is a rock-cut tomb in Jerusalem that was unearthed in 1867. It only dates back to the 8th-7th centuries BC. There are three others but not in serious contention, especially since one is in China and they all seem tiny, which would seem to indicate they were not the tomb purchased by a wealthy merchant named Joseph of Arimathea.
They all have one thing in common, which is the most wonderful thing I can think of. They are all empty.
Let’s look at some other prominent world religious leaders and find out what is known about their burial places:
And a few who claimed they were prophets or messiahs:
So here are my conclusions on the whole matter:
There was only one leader who said he would die and return. “I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve.” 1 Corinthians 15:3-5 NLT
There was only one who was seen after his death by many with a transformed body. “Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”). Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” John 20:11-17 NIV Later, “After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.” 1 Corinthians 15:6-7 NIV
There was only one who was seen ascending to Heaven. “After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” Acts 1:9-11 NIV
There was only one who sent a Comforter/Advocate to care for us until His return. “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” John 14:26 KJV
There was only one who said He would return for His people. “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 ESV
There was only one who said He would never leave us or forsake us. “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 ESV
For me, there is only one choice. I believe The Only One.
About Rays of Light:
Whereas most blogs are from one writer, these posts are from a variety of authors and styles. These scribes all attend our Kingdom Writers group. We pray our passion to share God's love through writing will encourage you today!
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