Sunday, April 24, 2011

Paul Did Not Use Google

Paul and his cohorts had no recourse to Google (nor Wikipedia for that matter). If he wanted to prove a point he had to produce eye-witnesses. Couldn't just look it up on the net. And so, when he wants to prove a point about the risen Christ, he reminds his readers that he is backed by well over 500 eye-witnesses.

Here's a short version of what he wrote to believers residing at Corinth.

He states that the risen Christ appeared (walked with, talked with) to:
  • Peter
  • the twelve disciples
  • more than 500 brethren at one time (some who were still alive when Paul wrote this chapter and quite able and willing to testify of the same)
  • James
  • all the apostles
  • to Paul himself
Paul is concerned that some of the believers do not believe in a bodily resurrection from the dead (for themselves, that is). Paul points out that if Christ has not risen from the dead then the following points are valid:
  • there is no resurrection from the dead for us...when we die, we die. The End.
  • it is pointless to preach Christ
  • our faith in Christ is pointless
  • what we proclaim as "truth" is mere "lie"
  • those who have died have perished...there is no heaven
But Paul is saying that Christ Is Risen. And he has 500+ witnesses to that event. Then he points out the order and meaning of the fact of the risen Christ:
  • Christ...the first to rise from the dead.
  • In Adam (as descendants of Adam) we all die. None of us gets out of here alive.
  • In Christ (joined to him by faith) we will be made alive.
  • We get our resurrected bodies at his second advent (his second coming)
But we are not yet there. Death still takes each one of us. But the emphasis here is that Death itself will someday be done away with. There will come a time when there will be no more death! Verse 26 says it like this..."The last enemy that will be abolished is death."

You can read Paul's more plainly here. I Corinthians 15:3-28

And Paul's concluding thoughts here. I Cor. 15:54-55

Jesus came to undo the work of the devil. He came to undo the death that Adam's sin brought to all of us. He came to put an end to death. An end to death? How can there be better news than that? And, hey! That thing about Jesus undoing the work of the devil? You can hover your cursor over the following verses to read about that.
Hebrews 2:14
1 John 3:8

On Easter we celebrate Christ's victory over death on our behalf. In Adam we die. In Christ we live. The latter only because Christ Himself lives and has conquered death.

J.C. Ryle (a much better writer than I) put it this way....We need not wonder that so much importance is attached to our Lord’s resurrection. It is the seal and memorial stone of the great work of redemption, which He came to do. It is the crowning proof that He has paid the debt He undertook to pay on our behalf, won the battle He fought to deliver us from hell, and is accepted as our guarantee and our substitute by our Father in heaven. Had He never come forth from the prison of the grave, how could we ever have been sure that our ransom had been fully paid (1 Corinthians 15:17)? Had He never risen from His conflict with the last enemy, how could we have felt confident that He has overcome death – and him that had the power of death, that is the devil (Hebrews 2:14)? But thanks be unto God, we are not left in doubt. The Lord Jesus really rose again for our justification.

And so we live by faith.

Monday, April 11, 2011

If You Want to Hit The News Bigtime, Host a Tornado!

The storm itself is in the news everywhere. If you've been watching news of any kind you know that a tornado ripped through the small Iowa town of Mapleton a mere 20 miles northeast of where we live. You can click here to see photos of the destruction.

But before the storm devastated Mapleton it first passed over our small town. The warning sirens sounded and, being the witless curious folk that we are, most of us zoomed out the patio door to see "what was the matter". We had company and the men of the bunch were the most witless curious. The overhead sky was definitely full of threatening clouds but it didn't seem any more than the usual dark blustery clouds of spring.

But to the north of us, a mere two blocks away, we could see a large and incohesive mass of air that had whipped dirt into the mix, turning it a dark gray. Even though it seemed only "breezy" on our deck, we could see that two blocks north, there were patches and masses of dark roiling air. We knew that boiling mass could quickly evolve into a funnel.

Still...we stood there watching. We knew the air was moving eastward and not towards our deck.

In the meanwhile we had ordered pizza. Our daughter, who had gone to pick it up, was standing in Pizza Hut wondering whether to drive home or to hide in the bathroom with the rest of the pizza crowd. She was bummed that she missed the stormy view from our deck. I was worried about her! But she returned safely.

Our other daughter works in an assisted care facility on the north edge of town....exactly in the path of the pre-funnel cloud. The routine is to round up all residents and move them into the hallway. When they realized one male resident was missing, they found him standing outdoors with his binoculars watching the storm.

Residents of Mapleton, Iowa, did not fare so well. One online source stated that about 120 homes out of the town's 600 were destroyed. Thankfully, no lives were lost. The Sheriff and his crew had tracked the storm and requested warning sirens be sounded early. Those extra few minutes gave residents time to head for their basements or other protected areas. Major damage. But, I repeat, no lost lives. We are grateful for that.

There are numerous videos of this tornado on news sites and on youtube so I will not include a can easily google and find them.

After the storm passed, our guests departed in several directions. But only after checking radar on iPad and iPhones. Pretty handy devices!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Today I Am Serious --- Again!

The following is a reposting of my blog entry of July 28, 2008. Lest you think my seemingly fascination with death is due to my having cancer, this post was written six months prior to my diagnosis. I labeled it, "Today I Am Serious." Here is the entry as I wrote it then.

I didn't wake up this morning thinking about today's topic. But someone emailed me this quote by Martin Luther King: "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."

I know what he means, of course. He's not talking about the end of life; he's not talking about death. He's talking about moral cowardice and failure.

Death, real Death, is deeper than that...deeper than moral failure on our part. More insidious. More deadly (if I can use "death" to define "death").

Biologically, our lives begin their trek toward death the moment we are conceived. Yes, I recognize that at conception rapid growth occurs. Our cells multiply and divide more prolifically at that point than ever again. It would hardly seem to be a time of dying. But if I consider life as a "time" thing, that we live in "time", that each moment in time is a moment closer to our physical death, then I recognize that my "march toward death" began the moment I began conception.

The moment of death comes to us in many ways. Some live a "natural" lifespan and die of old age. Some die premature, violent deaths. Some linger long and painfully as some disease or bodily dysfunction ends their living days. Somehow we see natural death (old age) as "better" than dying prematurely by accident or disease. We see painless death as "better" than a death that comes painfully. We see certain deaths as tragic and senseless while we view other deaths as normal or natural.

But it is really not the manner of death that is so terrible. The tragedy, the human tragedy, is that we die at all! That death exists! That death awaits all!

It behooves us, then, to take into consideration where and when death entered into the world.

The Bible tell us "The wages of sin is death...", Romans 6:23.

If that is so, then which of my sins causes my death? The one I committed yesterday? The day before? The first time I deliberately chose wrong over right? Which Sin? And if it is sinful action on the part of the individual that brings that individual's death, then what about that newborn infant? The one who took two breaths and died. What sin did that infant commit that was worthy of death?

In regards to myself, some might answer that it is all my sins that bring about my death. That I am guilty of all. And that is true. I am guilty of all my sins. So in a sense I could say that all my sins cause my death. ( a Christian, I also am completely aware of and thankful for the forgiveness that Christ gives at the Cross.)

Death entered into the world long before I was conceived and born. I'm talking about the death that we are born into. Read Genesis, Chapter 3. My death comes about because of Adam's sin (and ultimately my own sin). It is Adam's sin that brought death into the himself, to his posterity, and to all the animal kingdom. Death reigned in Adam. When he sinned he entered into a condition of death. And as his children we are conceived already entering into death.

The Bible speaks more about death, though, and gives us promise. It tells us that while in Adam we die, in Christ we live. (Romans 5:12-20). It also says that death will someday be destroyed (Rev. 20:14) and that death will not have the victory (1 Corinthians 15:55). (click on the texts to read the verses)

As Christians we can have confidence that death is not the end, that death will not have the victory, that we have life in Christ.

Dennis Ngien, in Christianity Today, puts it this way... "While we should be aware daily of the inevitable reality of death, we can live as those who have been freed from the curse and sting of death. Luther wisely reminds us to ponder "the heavenly picture of Christ," for in Christ, we have passed from death to life. Death is no death to the believers whose lives are hidden with Christ in God."

Today I am serious.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A Consultation Indicates a Pleasant Summer Ahead

I am happy to remedy (make a slight change) to my previous post wherein I mentioned Hubby having been diagnosed last year with Light Chain Deposition Disease.

This week Hubby's oncologist discussed a consultation he made with specialists at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. The summary of that discussion is basically that his LCDD will NOT affect the other organs. This means "no more chemo".

This is good news! Dialysis itself is wearing on the body. Adding chemo to the mix was a nasty way to bring on perpetual fatigue and other side-effects.

We are looking forward to enjoying the oncoming spring and summer. This has been our prayer...a good summer...and no chemo! This prayer has been answered and we are grateful.