Friday, March 29, 2013

Living in the Joy of the Resurrection

by Gregory A. Johnson
By William Murphy [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Becky was pregnant with our second child, and the doctor calculated that her due date would be April 1—April Fools' Day. Becky was adamant that our baby would not be born on April Fools' Day and throughout the pregnancy she stood firm, prayed and probably even tried to will herself out of that due date.

The closer we got to the due date, the more Becky proclaimed that our baby would not be born on April Fools’ Day. Well, it was the morning of March 30, and guess what? Nope, there was still no baby. Then that evening, Becky felt the first contraction. Was it a false contraction or was our baby coming? We waited a couple of hours and guess what? Yep, our baby was coming. I took Becky to the hospital later that night. She was in hard labor all night long and the next morning she gave birth to our precious little baby, Kelsey Ann. It wasn’t April Fools’ Day. It was March 31. And you know what fell on March 31 that year? It was Easter Sunday morning! I told everyone who would listen that Kelsey Ann was our little resurrection baby. Becky and I rejoiced!

Kelsey has grown to be a beautiful and intelligent young woman, and on every Easter morning, I remember the joy I felt the Easter morning she was born. She was not an April Fools’ baby. She was a resurrection baby!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Females Preach the First Easter Sunday Message

by Gregory A. Johnson

By Alexander Ivanov (1806 - 1858) (Russian) (Painter, (Google Art Project:  Home - pic) [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
The most important day on the Christian calendar is Easter. The most important day of the Christian week is Sunday. Jesus died on Friday evening, and He was buried in a borrowed tomb before the start of the Jewish Sabbath at sunset. On that Sunday morning, Jesus arose triumphant over death, hell, and the grave. Easter Sunday is celebrated once per year, but on every Sunday Christian churches meet around the world to celebrate an empty tomb. He has risen!

All day Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, the women mourned the loss of Jesus. They went to bed that night in sorrow, not realizing that the next morning joy would replace it.

At dawn on Sunday morning, the women went to the tomb to minister to the body of Jesus. After seeing Jesus die a horrible and violent death, they were still fearful, but their loyalty to Jesus got them up that morning. They were determined to go to the tomb where they had seen Jesus' body placed. Their main concern that morning was how they were going to move the heavy stone, so that they could spread spices on the body; they would have no help from the men. The men were hiding while being full of fear and sorrow.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

There is Hope in a Prison of Despair

by Gregory A. Johnson

Evelyn De Morgan [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsThere are two words that, when used together, form an imperative that is easier said than done. It seems to be automatic when times are good, and all is going well in one’s life. It’s more difficult when the walls of security and well-being are crumbling around you, despair setting in like a cold-damp fog on a pitch-dark night, holding you captive in its harrowing prison. The two words: Trust God.

He was a giant in the faith, planting churches in cities where the Gospel of Christ was fresh and new. His relationship with Christ was intense, strong, and personal. He walked with Christ, followed Christ, and continued the point-of-need ministry of Christ. His prayers were both fervent and effectual. He preached with power and anointing; miracles oftentimes confirming the message of Christ.

Victoriously, he came through physical and spiritual attacks alongside hunger, abandonment, illness, imprisonment, and poverty. Nevertheless, while on a missionary trip in Asia, discouragement and depression led him to despair life itself. He was mentally weakened and fragile, welcoming dying instead of living. With all desire and ambition gone, death seemed to be the remedy.