Sunday, August 20, 2017

Strength for Today; Hope for Tomorrow

Thirteen year-old Ralph rode his horse home from school on some very dark nights. One murky evening young Ralph approached a flooded stream and his horse refused to enter the swirling waters. Just then, a neighbor opened his farmhouse door, somewhere out there in the darkness on the other side of the stream. That open door laid a gleam of hope across the stream that rushed across Ralph’s pathway so rapidly; it allowed the hesitant Horse and the cautious rider to enter the stream with renewed confidence and make the crossing safely.
Years later; that distinguished radio minister, Dr. Ralph Sockman, recalled that significant incident from his boyhood. He confidently proclaimed that Christ opened the door on the other side of death’s sullen stream, that Christ “brought life and immortality to light,” that God broke in upon our world with the light of Easter. I’ve told this story before, but it speaks to me where I live today.

God wants us to find our way out of this great darkness that engulfs us. Some experience Easter only as a time of offense because the minister fails to recognize them from one year to the next. Others, like Sockman, discover in Easter an experience that offers life mends broken lives. The light of Easter exposes a gleam of hope that nurtures people through dog days, dreary events, and hopeless times.  It promises an equal opportunity occasion for nurturing new life, accompanied by the living Christ. It offers me the hope of eternal life with a living Heavenly Father as I await the soon departure of my spouse of 70.5 years.

In walking with this Christ we/I find forgiveness for past sins. In His continuing presence, she and I find promises of abundant life and ultimate victory over personal defeats. This God that was in Christ invites us to lay aside our spiritual uncertainties, walk with Him, and be liberated from the chains of doubt.

Easter brings His invitation for us to accompany Him on this grace-filled trip, free from the onslaughts of death, devastation, and defeat. Easter marks the ultimate turning point of faith by celebrating the true and certain defeat of death and darkness. Easter reveals the further promise of life unparalleled in victorious grace, mercy, and light. Easter offers this life on a 365-day-a-year basis rather than an annual spring holiday.            

Walking with Our Lord, we (now) live on rich dividends that result from His companionship. In seeking first His Kingdom, his companionship becomes our primary objective. As we pursue this ongoing journey, we await His future return with unabated eagerness, all the while welcoming any-and-all that will willingly accompany us.

On one hand, we no longer await some unknown future when Christ "will" bind Satan and cast him into the fiery pit. In reality, we live with him "now" in his victorious presence and we “celebrate” His faithful counsel and comforting presence.

Shortly after the liberation of Rome during World War Two, an Army Chaplain prepared  to participate in a special Memorial Service. Taking note of the circumstances, a young American GI begged the Chaplain to announce the soldier’s presence in the service. He explained that he left Italy ten years before and moved to America. He had not seen his mother during that time, but he knew she would be present in this service.
The Chaplain not being in charge of the service, could not honor the request. He agreed, however, and instructed the young GI: “When I am introduced you stand beside me. I am sure your mother will recognize you.”

Carefully following the Chaplain’s instructions, the anxious soldier stood beside the Chaplain in silence. A cry of recognition was heard buy all as a tiny woman in the audience jumped up and ran down the aisle toward the platform. Their mutual belief in the God of Easter dramatically reunited this elderly mother and her emigrant son after ten years of being separated by war and distance.

That which appeared in Bethlehem as a gleam of hope became a vision of reality when the God of history revealed himself through the resurrected and eternal Christ. In His Company, Tommie and I find God’s best for each one of us--both here and hereafter. The promises of the prophets became a living presence in Jesus. The  Easter event reveals the unending victory we experience today. It is a day in which Satan has no tomorrow.

From Warner’s World of 8-20-2017,

I am walkingwithwarner.blogspot.com___

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