Now and Not Yet

Soar We Now

Soar we now where Christ hath led, Alleluia!
 Foll’wing our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia!
 Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!

Christ the Lord is Risen Today
By: Charles Wesley, 1707-1778

Listen as you read.  This is a nice instrumental ambient version.

Make certain you check out the video log below!

The  first and last lines give us the opportunity to consider an interesting tension between the standing and experience of every believer.  It is this simultaneous nature of the now and not yet that exist in our relationship with God, at least from our perspective.  Take a few minutes and enter into the reality of this tension today.

Soar

Beautiful Clouds

First, let’s deal with this whole idea of soaring…

And when (Jesus)  had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. Acts 1:9 ESV

It is very difficult for me to imagine what that moment must have been like for those disciples as they stood on that hill and witnesses Christ’s Ascension into heaven.  I try to place myself in that moment.  Those final words of instruction and inspiration.  The goodbyes.  The emotions.  The tears.

But another moment is like it, both in the wonder of it and my inability to imagine it. One day we will soar with Christ!  And not just in a poetic sense, but at the very least in an other-worldly, hard to imagine what it will really be like, enjoying the Kingdom of God in all it’s fulness kind of way.  It will be so unlike our current existence that I am certain I do not have the capacity to conceive of it, yet I fully believe it will be true.

Why?  Because I believe the chronology of the last line is equally true.

Cross, Grave, Skies

Cross Grave Skies

Second, let’s consider our path…

Jesus commands us to take up our cross daily in Luke 9:23.  While this invitation certainly is declaring His path of self-denial, we vicariously experience each of this things through Christ’s obedience to the Father.  In the next few verses Jesus talks about losing our lives for His sake, and goes on to allude to the opportunity to share in the glory of the Father if we embrace His teaching and way of life.  Cross, death, glory looks a lot like cross, grave, skies.

And while our path will not be exactly like that of Jesus because we do not have to actually be crucified for the sins of the world because He already did that, our journey will have similar elements to it.  Embracing the Father’s will and dying to ourselves that we might enjoy the benefits of those decisions.

Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.  Hebrews 12:2 ESV

Time and Eternity

If we are going to follow Jesus, we are inspired to go all the way so we may share in all that Paul alludes to when he says this in Ephesians 2:6-7.

And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,  in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

What Christ accomplished in His crucifixion, death and resurrection is so certain that though it happened in the past, it is as if it has already happened in the future as far as God is concerned.  Not only is this true because God’s will is such a definite thing, but there is another way that I like to think about it.

Time Versus Infinity

We are bound by time so what has not yet happened is impossible for us to experience.  The same can not be said of God.  Because He is eternal there is a sense in which everything is happening all at once for Him: creation, redemption and the re-creation, everything.  It other words, for God everything is now.  I like to refer to Him as the “Great Eternal NOW”!

For Him there is no such thing as not yet, because it is all now.  For us there is a sense of not yet, because we are not soaring and neither the skies, or the grave for that matter, are ours yet. So, there is a sense in which our soaring is both now and not yet because for God it is now, and for us it is not yet.

What I hope is the result of imagining this is a deeper longing for the eternal perspective of things because I believe that shapes how we choose to live today, since eternity for us has already begun, even though we wrestle to grasp it.

Happy Tuning!

Jesus, thank You for accomplishing something in time that has changed eternity for me.  Thank You that not only are the cross and the grave mine, but so shall the skies be.  I believe I will soar.  Help me live today like that is true, since it is.  In Jesus name.  Amen.

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Everyone, please enjoy this video log usually only available to Subscribers and sometimes to Free Members,  as well as the transcript below.

Video 5.4 Transcript

Welcome to Tuesday Tunings at Resonant 7, where we reflect on the reality of God and resolve to let it resound in our lives, repeatedly. Let’s tune our hearts.

Soar we now where Christ hath led, Alleluia!
 Foll’wing our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia!
 Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!

After appearing many times to His disciples after His resurrection, Jesus’ final appearance culminated with a grand exit.  He ascended into the clouds, and in so doing led the way for us. Thank Him that one day you will follow Him, and soar to realms on high.  

We are the Church, and Christ is our Leader, or Head.  Where He goes, we will follow. That will never be more true than when He calls us home, either from our final resting place or our daily living.  Are you ready to hear your name called? If so, praise Him! If not, why not?

Jesus rose in Resurrection glory.  Whether we rise from a grave like Him or simply leave earth behind, we will be made like Him.  Though our flesh is destined to decay, we will be raised incorruptible. Let that overwhelm your heart even now.

He taught us to take up our cross, and we struggle to learn to deny ourselves daily.  If He does not come back first, some of us may face the reality of the grave. Even still, all of us will follow Him into the clouds, the culmination of following His example. Ask Him to help you be ready.

Take a few moments to talk to Jesus about what has surfaced in your heart, or just listen to what He is saying to you, then we will sing once more

Sing

Take the awareness of God’s presence cultivated in these last few minutes into the next ones and beyond.  Until next time, be Resonant.

Image Attribution
Soar We Now – https://gfycat.com/speedyweakchrysalis
Beautiful Clouds – https://www.shutterstock.com/video/clip-1014231293-beautiful-clouds-soar-across-sky
Cross Grave Skies – https://www.pinterest.com/pin/457256168391714578/?lp=true
Time Versus Infinity – https://www.pinkcatshop.com/decor343-infinite-spiral-wall-clock.html

Stay Down! Ok, Get Up.

Keys of Death and Hades

Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
 Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids His rise, Alleluia!
 Christ hath opened paradise, Alleluia!

Christ the Lord is Risen Today
By: Charles Wesley, 1707-1778

Listen as you read.  This is a neat orchestral karaoke version.

On Tuesday we considered how Christ finished the work the Father had given Him to do thus opening paradise.  He did this by defeating death.  Today we are going to think about a couple ways that defeat is described in lines 2 and 3 of this stanza.

What Battle?

Descended into…

The hymn alludes to a battle, so you may wonder what battle is it talking about?  Some have likened this to the idea that Christ descended into hell, which is expressed in some versions of the Apostles Creed with the words “he descended into hell.”  There are a few different Scriptures that can be interpreted to support this, but none of them explicitly state this, so it is a bit of a stretch.

One other way of making sense of the line in the creed is to acknowledge there were different versions, some not including this line.  Some newer versions substitute dead for hell, which is probably a more accurate acknowledgement of the fact that in the ancient world Hades was often equated with the grave, rather than hell.

For all this controversy, there is no debate among Christians as to whether Jesus descended into the grave.  It is clearly described in a number of the gospel accounts, and helps to clear up the possible confusion.  Either way, it is widely accepted that Jesus defeated death based on a number of different verses, not the least of which are Jesus’ own words.

[The Son of Man] laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.”  Revelation 1:17b-18 ESV

Arm Wrestling

In these verses, John has a vision of Jesus as the Son of Man.  Jesus declares He died, but is alive forever, and that overcoming death has earned Him the keys of Death and Hades.  

I think of it like arm wrestling.  Jesus fought Death for the right to have final authority over Death.  Jesus won the match or battle, so He gets to keep the keys, saying effectively who comes and goes.  You can not take someone’s keys unless you have authority over them.  

Thank Jesus for winning that battle.

Stay Down!  Ok, Get Up.

Jesus demonstrates His victory over death through His resurrection.  Can you imagine what that must have been like?  For a couple days Death thought it had won.  Then on the third day, there was an earthquake and everything changed.  It is as if Death tried to tell him, “Stay down!”, until it realized it had no dominion over Him, so it conceded with “Ok, get up.”

He did die, but now He lives.  I like how these verses say it with the double doubles of “he died he died” and “he lives he lives.”

We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.  For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. Romans 6:9-10 ESV

We are invited into a similar transaction, dying to sin and living to God.  As we enter into that activity by faith, we ensure that Death will have no dominion over us either.  Like Christ, we may very well descend into a grave, but also like Him we will leave it behind one day.

Thank Jesus for making that possible.

Alleluia!

Jesus, thank You for fighting the fight and winning the battle with death.  Thank You for demonstrating your victory by rising to life, and giving me the hope I will as well, even if I die.  Until then, may Your resurrection power be at work in me helping me to live for Your glory.  In Jesus name.   Amen.

Grateful Thinking!

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Below is content available only to Subscribers.  Want to learn more about accessing all the additional material in the Subscriber Content Library, click here.  Or check out some samples at our Free Member Content Library.  We have lots of tools and lots of options designed to help you be Resonant!  Check them out today!!

Subscribers enjoy this podcast! Everyone else, the transcript below.

Podcast 5.3 Transcript

Welcome to Thursday Thoughts at Resonant 7, where we reflect on the reality of God and resolve to let it resound in our lives, repeatedly. Let’s think about this.

Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!

John 19:28, 30 ESV

After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.”… When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Jesus went to the cross out of love and obedience to the Father.  He went there to redeem us by offering His life as a perfect sacrifice.  He finished His work. Give Him praise!

 Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!

Revelation 1:17b-18 ESV

[The Son of Man] laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, 18 and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.

John has a vision of Jesus as the Son of Man.  Jesus declares He died, but is alive forever, and that overcoming death has earned Him the keys of Death and Hades.  You can not take someone’s keys unless you have authority over them. Thank Jesus for winning that battle.

Death in vain forbids His rise, Alleluia!

Romans 6:9-10 ESV

We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.  For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God.

Death no longer has dominion over Him.  His life was not taken from Him, instead He willingly laid it down, then took it up again.  He rose to life and invites us into that life. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you live your life to God, like Jesus, our Risen Lord.

 Christ hath opened paradise, Alleluia!

Luke 23:42-43 ESV

And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”  And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

One thief on the cross beside Jesus chose to acknowledge Him for who He was by rebuking the other thief, and followed it with a simple request, remember me.  Christ has opened paradise to all who will acknowledge Him for who He is. How can you acknowledge Him today? Not sure? Ask Him to show you.

Take a few moments to talk to Jesus about what has come to your mind, or just listen to what He is saying to you, then I will read our text once more.

Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
 Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids His rise, Alleluia!
 Christ hath opened paradise, Alleluia!

Take the mindfulness of God’s presence cultivated in these last few minutes into the next ones and beyond.  Until next time, be Resonant.

Image Attributions
Keys of Death and Hades – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2SMPOf55v3c
Descended into… – https://avondhupress.ie/easter-celebrates-undying-flame-life/empty-tomb-of-jesus-at-night/
Arm Wrestling – http://www.rulesofsport.com/sports/arm-wrestling.html

Work Done, Paradise Open

Love’s Redeeming Work

Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
 Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids His rise, Alleluia!
 Christ hath opened paradise, Alleluia!

Christ the Lord is Risen Today
By: Charles Wesley, 1707-1778

Listen as you read.  This is a neat orchestral karaoke version.

The  first and last lines of this weeks stanza allude to a couple of Jesus’ last words from the cross.  He speaks a promise to a thief, and then quietly declares His work is done before taking his last breath.  Both of these “words” or phrases evoke a response in our hearts if we will let them.  Will you let them?

Finished

It is Finished

Jesus…said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.  John 19:30

Finished means complete or perfect in all details, as in a product.  The work the Father had for Jesus to do, “Love’s redeeming work”, was done.  Several times earlier in the book of John Jesus had referred to finishing the work the Father had for Him, using this same word translated finished.  He completed that cycle when He declared “It is finished”.

His sacrificial death satisfied the wrath of God.  As we considered a few entries ago, sin has a consequence.  Death.  Jesus paid in full the debt we owed to a Holy God.  Sin had to be atoned, and Jesus did just that.  He redeemed us, purchasing our forgiveness at a great price when He said, “It is finished.”

I wonder if the devil might have been confused thinking Jesus had misspoke.  Notice He did not say, “I am finished”.

I wonder how often we find ourselves confused thinking there is still something we need to do to finish our salvation.  There is nothing more we need to do.

Let me be clear.  Jesus still had to leave the tomb empty to demonstrate His victory over sin, death and the grave.  The unleashing of His resurrection power for all who believe had not yet occurred, but Love’s redeeming work was done.  He opened paradise, but before we consider the effect of His sacrifice, allow you heart to revel in the juxtaposition of these two extremes: death and life, suffering and paradise.

His going to Golgatha, while it purchased our access to paradise, was the antithesis of it.  This is the connection between these two.  So, once again, Jesus brings together two very disparate things.  Take a few moments and let the wonder of that sink deeply into your heart.   He took what we deserved to give us what we could not earn.

Paradise

Christ and the Thief on the Cross

(Jesus) said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”  Luke 23:43

What do think the thief on the cross felt when Jesus spoke those words to him?  I wonder what paradise would have meant to him?  Anything would be better than the anguish he was experiencing on the cross, but paradise?  I have a feeling he took Jesus at His word.  Was is that sometimes so hard for us to do?

How does the word paradise make you feel?  What words would describe those feelings?

  • Joy
  • Peace
  • Hope
  • Light
  • Relief
  • Security
  • Safety
  • Beauty

Our answers would probably be about as different as you could imagine because we would likely each define paradise very differently.  When you try to imagine paradise what comes to mind? Does it have some of the elements of this beautiful image?

Stairway to Heaven

This is actually a Thomas Kinkade work titled “Stairway to Paradise”.  I like some of the elements here.

  • the light
  • nature
  • the warmth
  • the mist

The most obvious thing it is missing is people.  I suppose you can imagine they are just out of view, but the idea of paradise without others to enjoy it makes it something less, even for introverts like me.  This is especially true for the Christian, which I suppose would describe the thief as well, since the very presence of Christ is the essential figure that makes any place a paradise.  After all, Jesus told the thief he would be with Him in paradise.

We should find great comfort in that we can not only face death knowing it has no dominion over Jesus, but that when we die we will be with Him, like the thief.  We can say with Paul,

“Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.”  2 Corinthians 5:8

Alleluia!

Happy Tuning!

Jesus, thank You for completing the work the Father gave you to do.  Thank You for opening paradise for all who believe in You.  Help my hear to believe that Your work is finished and paradise is mine, today.  In Jesus name.  Amen.

Like what you finding here?  Fill out the form to the right to get an email with each fresh post and updates of new tools to help you be Resonant.

Please comment below and share if you have found this helpful in your journey of being more resonant.

Below is content available only to Subscribers Free Members.  Want to learn more about accessing all the additional material in the Subscriber Content Library, click here, or the Free Member Content Library with some examples of the Subscribers content, click here.

Subscribers, please enjoy this video log!  And everyone else the transcript below.

Video 5.3 Transcript

Welcome to Tuesday Tunings at Resonant 7, where we reflect on the reality of God and resolve to let it resound in our lives, repeatedly. Let’s tune our hearts.

Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
 Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids His rise, Alleluia!
 Christ hath opened paradise, Alleluia!

Before He breathed His last Jesus said, “It is finished.”  He came to seek and save the lost, and with His death He completed that work.  You are redeemed because you are loved. Marvel at His gift of love today.

In the Garden of Gethsemane, as in anguish He sweat drops of blood, Jesus asked His Father “Let this cup pass from me. Yet not my will but Yours be done.”  In His surrender, He was victorious. How can you follow His lead today?

What a shock Death must have had on that Resurrection morning when Jesus rose to life.  Death tried, but could not hold Him down. Accordingly, Death will be equally unsuccessful with you.  Give Jesus praise for completing His Father’s assignment so powerfully.

One of the those who hung with Him on Calvary acknowledged who Jesus was and asked to be remembered when Christ would come into His kingdom.  Jesus rewarded his belief by responding, “Today you will be with me in paradise.” That promise echoes in every heart of faith. Listen, can you hear it?

Take a few moments to talk to Jesus about what has surfaced in your heart, or just listen to what He is saying to you, then we will sing once more

Sing

Take the awareness of God’s presence cultivated in these last few minutes into the next ones and beyond.  Until next time, be Resonant.

Image Attribution
Love’s Redeeming Work – https://www.josephprince.org/blog/articles/the-passion-of-the-christwhy
2 It is Finished – https://thisissalvation.com/the-story
Christ and the Thief on the Cross – https://thereforegodexists.com/5-truths-we-can-learn-from-the-thief-on-the-cross/
4 Stairway to Paradise – https://thomaskinkade.com/shop/limited-edition-art/stairway-to-paradise-limited-edition-art/

Tomb Borrower Defeats Grave

Empty Tomb

Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
 Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once He died our souls to save, Alleluia!
 Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia!

Christ the Lord is Risen Today
By: Charles Wesley, 1707-1778

Listen as you read.  This is a short but beautiful cello version.

Let’s think about this.  He is alive because He has the authority to take His life up again after He laid it down.  He had to lay it down because our sin had a consequence.  The consequence was death.

Borrowed Tomb

There is a powerful line in a song we sang on Easter Sunday called Resurrecting, from Elevation Worship.

The tomb where soldiers watched in vain,
  was borrowed for three days.
His body there would not remain.
  Our God has robbed the grave.

Where Thy Victory, O Grave?

Who borrows a tomb?  Only someone who knows they will be able to return it, having only needed it for a short time.  Jesus had a grave, but the Father robbed it.

Though when we sing this powerful stanza we are asking the rhetorical question, “Where thy victory, O grave?”, it could just as well be Jesus making the inquiry.   In fact, He had already asked those questions through the prophet Hosea hundreds of years before.

I will set these people free from the power of the grave.
    I will save them from death.
Death, where are your plagues?
    Grave, where is your power to destroy?  Hosea 13:14 NIrV

The grave thought it had defeated Christ, but it was only a fleeting illusion.  He conquered the grave when He left it empty.  Alleluia!  Take a moment and thank Jesus for leaving that tomb empty, and in so doing, giving you hope you will one day do the same.

Dying Once

Some versions of this stanza say “Dying once” instead of “Once He died”.  That is the one I am more familiar with so I like how it rolls off the tongue, possibly more from familiarity, but I have to admit the one here is actually more clear.  He was not dying once, he died once.  And He did so, because He had to.

Consider these two Scriptures.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,  Romans 3:23

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 6:23

We have all sinned.  The wages of sin, what you get for doing it, is death.  Ergo, we all have earned the right to die.  Jesus traded us what He deserved, life eternal, for what we deserved, death.  His death dealt with sin, once for all.

So Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.    Hebrews 9:28

Sacrificial Lamb

When Jesus died once for all He was satisfying the wrath of God in a way the sacrificial system of the Old Testament could never do.  The Tabernacle/Temple sacrifices had to be repeated  over and over because they could not really deal with sin by perfecting the conscience of the worshipper.  Hebrews 9 explains this beautifully, but these two verses capture it well.

Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.  Hebrews 9:25-26

Once for All

Only Jesus was able to offer the perfect sacrifice.  Thanks be to God, He did!  Take a moment and thank Jesus for dying once, and in so doing, saving you for the wages of sin and offering you the gift of God, eternal life.

Alleluia!

Jesus, thank You thank You for offering the perfect sacrifice, once for all, to save me from my sin.  Thank You for demonstrating victory of the grave by leaving that tomb empty.  I will ever sing praises to Your matchless name.  Alleluia!   In Jesus name.   Amen.

Grateful Thinking!

Are these thoughts helping you to develop greater spiritual awareness?  Sign-up in the form to the right above to get updates of new tools to help you be Resonant.

Below is content available only to Subscribers.  Want to learn more about accessing all the additional material in the Subscriber Content Library, click here.  Or check out some samples at our Free Member Content Library.  We have lots of tools and lots of options designed to help you be Resonant!  Check them out today!!

Subscribers enjoy this podcast! Everyone else, the transcript below.

Podcast 5.2 Transcript

Welcome to Thursday Thoughts at Resonant 7, where we reflect on the reality of God and resolve to let it resound in our lives, repeatedly. Let’s think about this.

Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!

1 Peter 1:3 ESV

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

Jesus Christ is alive again.  Because He lives, we have a living hope into which we have been born again.  Our Father’s great mercy has accomplished this. Bless Him for raising Jesus and in so doing, giving us life and hope and peace.

 Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!

1 Corinthians 15:54-55 ESV

54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:  “Death is swallowed up in victory.”“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”

What an incredible rhetorical question!  What a remarkable statement of faith! Jesus’ body having perished, put on the imperishable, and in so doing, swallowed up death in victory. Even though we may die, we will live.  Alleluia!

Once He died our souls to save, Alleluia!

Hebrews 9:28 ESV

So Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

He accomplished His Father’s will, and will come a second time, having dealt with sin, to save us.  And who are we? Those who are eagerly waiting for Him. You may be waiting, but are you eager? Ask Him to make you eager.

 Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia!

1 Corinthians 15:57 ESV

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

You have victory over sin, death and the grave.  You could never have accomplished this, but Jesus already did.  Thank Him.

Take a few moments to talk to Jesus about what has come to your mind, or just listen to what He is saying to you, then I will read our text once more.

Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
 Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once He died our souls to save, Alleluia!
 Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia!

 

Take the mindfulness of God’s presence cultivated in these last few minutes into the next ones and beyond.  Until next time, be Resonant.