Written by Teresa Wade - Heartland Church - Fort Wayne, IN
“There is no fear in love (dread does not exist). But perfect (complete, full-grown) love drives out fear, because fear involves (the expectation of divine) punishment, so the one who is afraid (of God’s Judgment) is not perfected in love (has not grown into a sufficient understanding of God’s love) (I John 4:18 AMP).
Today of all days, why was there a roadblock ahead with a detour sign? How did I go from a Sunday afternoon walk to speeding down the highway with my husband beside me as he described his symptoms of a heart attack? I was trying to stay calm, but my mind raced.
Going as fast as I dared down that winding country road, I realized this was the precise road the Lord showed me in my mind’s eye that morning in worship. Somehow in the previous week, I realized obedience equals love to my Father in heaven. That Sunday morning when the congregation began to sing, “I love you, Lord,” it was difficult for me to sing those words, realizing they meant, “I will obey you, Lord.” Earlier that week, I had written on my chalkboard, “My obedience is pertinent to the Lord.”
I got on my face telling my Father I wanted to be obedient to Him and needed His help. At this point, He showed me a road that felt scary to me--the same one I was now driving on. My first thought was, “No! Please don’t take my husband from me.” I argued with the Lord about all the reasons I needed my husband. Each argument was met with reminders of how He had walked me through other frightening situations. Finally, I let go, trusting my Father in heaven to do what was best for us. He then showed me a picture of the Last Supper, but instead of John leaning on Christ’s chest, I was. I had an immediate awareness that if I would just lean into Jesus, my husband and I both would be all right.
My husband was admitted to the hospital, and as the time progressed, even waiting for a bed in the heart unit didn’t upset me. We actually dared to enjoy our time together, joking about room service and the massages my husband received. We finally got into the cardiac unit, and they found his left anterior descending artery was 95% blocked. With amazement, the doctor told us there was absolutely no damage to his heart. By midweek, we were home, and he was back to work feeling better than he had for years.
It was no mistake the Lord wrote this preface into our lives before 2020’s pandemic, riots, and election. It started a process where I learned to lean into Him during all the scary things that went on that year.
Ask yourself these questions:
Is there something I am afraid to let go of?
Is there an area where I need to lean into Jesus?
Then ask the Holy Spirit what He would like to replace these fears with. Lastly, if these fears dare cross your mind, strike back with the words the Holy Spirit has given you! We become victorious as we renew our minds like this.
Written by Cameron Miller - Heartland Church - Fort Wayne, IN
“And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” (John 14:13 NIV)
“You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.” (Exodus 20:7 NIV)
We were house hunting in a frantic market where a house that went up for sale in the morning could be sold by noon. My wife and I had found an amazing house, right where we wanted to live, and the documents to place the offer were awaiting my electronic signature. Unfortunately, I was at a wilderness camp, with 6% battery life left on my phone and minimal reception. There was no way I’d be able to sign my name.
Thankfully, I had an ally in this: my wife. She took my name when we got married, and so I had no problem with her signing all those documents in my stead. She managed to get hold of me through someone else’s phone. and I gave her the okay to use my name.
What struck me soon afterward is how God works similarly with us. We are allowed to use His name to confront the challenges around us. When we face obstacles we can’t overcome in our own strength, then we get to claim the power of El Shaddai, God Almighty. When we are lost and don’t know where to go, we can claim the guiding light of Jehovah Nissi, the Lord our Banner. When sickness and infirmity threaten to overwhelm us, we can claim restoration from Jehovah Rophe, the Lord Who Heals. And in all situations, we can call on the authority, power, and majesty of Jesus, our Lord and Savior.
And yet, there are limits. If a submarine captain is not permitted to launch a nuclear missile attack without the President’s say-so, how much more carefully guarded is the power of the Name Above All Names? We are not permitted to use that name to glorify ourselves or to support our sinful desires. We may not claim it to bypass discipline God has set before us, nor to harm or control those whom God loves, nor for any purpose our human understanding sees as good, but which is not aligned with the infinitely wise purposes of God. There are limits in how we are permitted to use the name of God, not because it isn’t powerful enough to overcome certain obstacles, but because it is too powerful for us to use solely at our whim.
Prayer: Lord, thank You for the use of Your glorious name. Because I can sign Your name to anything that challenges Your will for me, there is nothing that we cannot accomplish together. Help me to know Your Name better, so I can understand the power that is available to me. And keep me from magnifying my own human sinfulness by trying to apply Your holy name to it. I pray this all in Jesus’ name.
Written by and Photo Credit: Janet Mueller - Heartland Church - Fort Wayne, IN
It was a dark time during the Christmas season after my second son was born 30 years ago. I was sleep deprived, in pain, and probably suffering from postpartum depression. There was a popular Christian song at that time called, “You’ll See a Man,” sung by the group, Harvest. Over and over, the words to the chorus rang through my tired head.
You’ll see a man
Acquainted with your sorrows
You’ll see His eyes
Sharing in your tears.
You’ll see His arms
Never lost their hold on you.
Lift your eyes, you’ll see the Lord
I wondered, “Why did the songwriter pen it that way — you’ll see a MAN?” I concluded he was emphasizing the humanity of Jesus so we would know He can and does relate to us on all levels. I needed to hear that and wanted to know more so I broke open my Bible and began to study for myself the humanity of Jesus. What I discovered stunned me and remains with me to this day. There are so many rich aspects to Jesus’ humanity; let me share just a couple of the things I learned.
Jesus identified with us in our humanity by calling Himself the Son of Man. In the gospels, that title was used 81 times, but only by Jesus, and only referring to Himself. He used that phrase when talking about His work, His suffering, His future glorification, and His second coming. In all these things, He identified as a human being. That is why “He is not ashamed or embarrassed to introduce us as his brothers and sisters!” (Hebrews 2:11 TPT). He is one of us.
Especially since I had just given birth, it was interesting for me to discover that a baby will only possess the mitochondria inherited from the woman’s egg at conception. In other words, the genetic pathway of mitochondrial DNA can only be traced through the woman and not through the man, a well-known fact in forensic science. Like all humans born, Jesus inherited the mitochondrial DNA of his mother. This explains how Jesus was truly a human; He wasn’t just identifying as human in a notional way. He had inherited all the DNA of his mother, making him a human being. 100% human and 100% God.
When we are in physical or emotional pain, extreme exhaustion, or at our wits’ end and tempted to despair, it helps to know that Jesus was completely human; and therefore, He is sympathetic and compassionate towards us. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15 HCSB).
Jesus is fully God and fully man, united in one person forever! He didn’t become a man for just 33 years and then go back to the way things were before His incarnation. Although He was always God, He took on a body permanently and forever became the God-Man when He was conceived in Mary’s womb. However, since His resurrection, He has a glorified body, like ours will be someday, but it’s a body nonetheless. Even right now, as you are reading this, He is at the right hand of the Father, as the God-Man, interceding for you. When this understanding broke upon me, I cried out, “Now that’s a God I can love!”
Thirty years have passed since that long, cold winter with a newborn and a toddler and a heart that implored, “God, do you see me?” But the revelation of the permanent, remarkable change that Jesus undertook for us in His incarnation remains with me forever.
Scripture for Meditation: “This is why he had to be a Man and take hold of our humanity in every way. He made us his brothers and sisters and became our merciful and faithful King-Priest* before God; as the One who removed our sins to make us one with him. He suffered and endured every test and temptation, so that he can help us every time we pass through the ordeals of life” (Hebrews 2:17,18 TPT).
* The Aramaic can be translated “so that he would be the nurturing Lord of the king-priests.”
Written by Fr. Dale Minor - Reclaim Ministry
“Jesus said, ‘I am resurrection and the life, … And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.’” (John 11:25-26a) This is a declaration Jesus made to Martha, sister of Lazarus, in response to her having confronted Him for his delay after being told her brother, Lazarus, was near death.
The setting is Bethany, just a couple miles from Jerusalem. The timing was just days before the Feast of the Passover as Jesus was making his way toward Jerusalem for the completion of His earthly mission, and He fully understood all that awaited Him there. The scriptures do not provide the exact time between the raising of Lazarus and the crucifixion of Jesus but best estimates are that it was only about two weeks. John 11:54 tells us that once the Chief Priest and Pharisees had heard about the raising of Lazarus that they began plotting in earnest for the death of both, Jesus and Lazarus; therefore, Jesus retreated to Ephraim, a city about fourteen miles, or a good days journey, north of Jerusalem. Then, according to John 12:1, Jesus returned to Bethany and to the home of Lazarus the night before he rode very publicly, and triumphantly, into Jerusalem being hailed as King of the Jews.
Today, my thoughts are drawn to the quotation from John 11:25, “I am resurrection and the life, says the Lord.” The word resurrection means raising from the dead. That is, restored to life. But the fact that Jesus used both resurrection and life in the same sentence indicates that He was considering them as separate entities. Indeed, as we consider the context and content of the story - all that Jesus has taught us - as we relate these words to our faith in Jesus, we begin to understand that He is speaking not only of those who have died and been resurrected to eternal life in heaven, but also to those who are living and are sustained in life through our relationship with Him.
The existence of human life is usually defined as that possessing a beating heart. In more recent times it has also included a functioning brain, the measure of brain waves. But we are more than flesh and blood; we are body, soul, and spirit. These three working together make up life. Therefore, true life exists only when all three are working in unison to add vision and purpose to our existence.
For sure, Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection opened the way. He made it possible for us, weak and imperfect as we are, to ascend into heaven and have eternal life. He also desires that we live life in its fullness, here and now, on this earth. And this requires that we be in communion with Him. “I am resurrection and I am life says the Lord.” He promises us life even after our earthly life has ended, but His desire is for us to live the fullness of life; the life that only He can provide, every day we spend on earth.
Jesus said to Martha, "Did I not say to you that if you believe you would see the glory of God?" Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth.” Lazarus who had been bound hand and foot in graveclothes came forth and Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.” (John 11:40-41,44) Jesus says the same to all that bind us, “Loose him and let him go.”
Jesus has stated that He “has come to bring life and life more abundantly.” (John 10:10) This means He wants you to live a resurrected life now, here, in this place, in the place He has called you, without delay.
Enjoy your Easter and be blessed.