Now and Not Yet REPOST

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.

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Everyone, enjoy this video, and the transcript 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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Video 40.4, 5.4 Reframed

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.  

Jesus, thank You for allowing me to soar.

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, help me follow You.

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.

Jesus, overwhelm my heart.

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.

Jesus, help me 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. REPOST

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.

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Please enjoy this podcast and the transcript below.

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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Podcast 40.3 (5.3 Replayed)

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!

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. John 19:28, 30 ESV

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!

[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

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!

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

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!

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.” Luke 23:42-43 ESV

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.

The post Stay Down! Ok, Get Up. REPOST appeared first on Resonant 7.

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