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Easter's Over...Now What?

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Easter Sunday is the most significant day on the liturgical calendar for a Christian.  It is the culmination of an entire week focused on the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Christians around the world join together to worship and celebrate the risen Lord and their adoption into the family of God.  All too often though, the festivities of Easter are followed by an adrenaline dump and a sense of malaise for believers.  For most churches, attendance is traditionally low the week after Easter. We must ask ourselves if this is appropriate.  Is there biblical precedent for this waxing and waning?   How did the disciples carry on after the resurrection?

The first Easter for the disciples was not necessarily the end of something, it was the beginning.  Acts 1:3 show us that, after the resurrection, it was another 40 days until Christ gave the Great Commission and ascended into heaven.  From all accounts, the passion of the disciples only grew from that point on.  It is important to note that the disciples, before spreading out to different areas of the world, only knew Jesus for 3-4 years.  That short time left an indelible mark on these men.  Their zealous impact for the Kingdom was realized in the years and decades after the resurrection and ascension, not before it. 

What exactly did the future hold for the disciples? History offers us some insight.  According to historical record, the apostle James was beheaded in 44 AD under the authority of King Agrippa and was the first recorded martyred apostle (~10 years of ministry).  Simon Peter died a martyr’s death between 64-68 AD under the persecution of Emperor Nero (>30 years of ministry). The apostle John died in 100-105 AD after being exiled to the Isle of Patmos and finally traveling to Ephesus after his release (~70 years of ministry).  The disciples went on to lead ministries that lasted decades in most cases.  Suffice it to say there was no shortage of fervency among the disciples after the first Easter.  They certainly did not rest on the laurels of the previous 3 years.  They traversed the globe by land and sea to share the gospel of Christ, and often met gruesome ends because of it.

What kind of an effect has Easter had on us?  It’s so common for us to treat Easter like any other holiday, forgetting the historical event that it commemorates.  The encounters Christ had with those during his life and after His resurrection effectuated meaningful change that had the power to endure.  The modern day “church fatigue,” that most seem to experience is more likely the product of buying into a secular understanding of Easter.  A biblical understanding produces something very different in the life of a believer.  This year, may we line ourselves up with Romans 12:11, so that the typical fatigue we have grown so accustomed to would be replaced by an irrepressible excitement, fervor, and zeal to serve our Lord.

Posted by Shawn Thomas

A Biblical Mother

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The first example of a mother in the bible is, Eve.

Adam, created from dust, was later given a partner from the other half of his rib. Genesis 3:20 states, "The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living." 

In the garden, Eve and Adam lived amongst each other and were given the permission to "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it." Genesis 1:28.

We see the example of being fruitful and multiplying throughout the bible with mothers birthing children born who later became great leaders. One great leader that we have come to know is King Solomon who asked the Lord for wisdom.

Solomon went on to write Proverbs and later speaks about how a woman should carry herself in Proverbs 31. This example of the Proverbs 31 woman is still used today especially when it comes to raising a family.

Proverbs 31:26 speaks about the characteristics of a mother’s speech and how it should be. "She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue." 

God also instructed mothers to take care of children in Deuteronomy 6:6–7, which further speaks about setting an example for children, "And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise." 

Mothers should be honored for raising children who will one day raise their own children and the generations to come. Mother’s Day is a day where we celebrate mothers who lead and set biblical examples for us to follow. These women have given us a firm foundation that has followed us into adulthood and has helped lead us on the path to Christ. This leadership has continued to inspire girls who later become mothers and is inspiring those of us who want to become mothers in the future.

Proverbs 31:31: "Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate."

Thank you to the mothers who continue to be an inspiration to us all.

Posted by Javannah Evans

An Eternal Hope

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The past few weeks have been nothing short of unprecedented, both here in the United States, and across the world.  The effects of Covid-19 on society have been massive as "social distancing," has become common place.  Schools have closed, church gatherings have ceased, and businesses have all but shut down, as unemployment has skyrocketed.  Covid-19 has now become part of our lexicon.  We are regularly inundated with statistics about new positive tests, and rising death tolls every time we turn on the television.   

 So what is Covid-19 exactly?

The Center for Disease Control describes Covid-19 as a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person.  Patients who have Covid-19 have experienced mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms including fever, cough, and shortness of breath.  The most severe cases have even resulted in multi-organ failure and death.  The virus is certainly more contagious than the common flu, and in some cases, far more severe.

 It is important to note that Covid-19, just as any other illness or malady, is a constant reminder of the world’s broken state.  The very moment that sin entered the world, it's effects were immediately felt by humanity.  Genesis 3 details how both man and woman went from a perfect form, to one that experienced pain, toil, and hardship.  While woman was cursed to experience pain in labor, man was cursed to experience pain by the work of his hand.  As sickness and disease followed, they were only the beginning, as an eternity apart from God was the ultimate consequence of sin.

 So where does the Christian find hope? 

What’s comforting is that the bible makes no illusions about our mortality.  A physical death is not only inevitable, it is to be expected.  Fathers of the faith like Abraham experienced a physical end just as much as the most villainous characters of the bible.  In regards to our eternity though, the bible is clear that apart from the intervention of God, we are in fact, hopeless.  The bible describes salvation as a gracious gift through Christ Jesus.  By putting on the righteousness afforded to us by Christ, we are counted as redeemed.  1st Corinthians paints the picture beautifully in the following verse:

 “For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.  When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: Death has been swallowed up in the victory.”  - 1 Corinthians 15:53-54

Though our earthly bodies will continue to be susceptible to this virus, and any new ailment that comes down the pipeline, we find peace in the fact that we as Christians have been clothed with something that is imperishable.  Yes, this flesh will diminish in strength and eventually wither away, but we who have put on immortality through Christ Jesus have been reconciled to God, and have a hope beyond this world.  Our hope is alive and well, and that is something no virus can take away.       

Posted by Shawn Thomas