Everlasting Life: Monday Monologues (podcast) April 5, 2021

Stephen_W_Hiemstra_20200125b

 By Stephen W. Hiemstra

This morning I will share a prayer and reflect on Everlasting Life. After listening, please click here to take a brief listener survey (10 questions).

To listen, click on this link.

Hear the words; Walk the steps; Experience the joy!

Everlasting Life: Monday Monologues (podcast) April 5, 2021

Also see:

Monday Monologue On March 26, 2018 

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net,

Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

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Easter. Monday Monologues (podcast)

Stephen W Hiemstra, 2018
Stephen W Hiemstra, 2018

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

In today’s podcast, I offer a prayer and reflect on Easter.

After listening, please click here to take a brief listener survey (10 questions).

To listen, click on the link below:

Hear the words; Walk the steps; Experience the joy!

Easter. Monday Monologues (podcast)

Also see:

Monday Monologue On March 26, 2018 

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net, Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter: http://bit.ly/Lent_2019b

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Mark 16: Easter

Empty Tomb on Easter“And he said to them, Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified.

He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him” (Mark 16:6 ESV).

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

One of the most vivid memories I have as a young person was the experience of an Easter sunrise.  Easter is mysterious, earth-shattering news.  How could I sleep through it?

Funeral

At my grandfather’s funeral, I was given a head of wheat which hangs now in my kitchen.  The wheat reminds me of Jesus’ saying:  “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (John 12:24 ESV).

Resurrection Reminders

The mystery of resurrection is everywhere in nature.  Sunrise is the resurrection of the day.  Springtime is the resurrection of the seasons.  The metamorphosis from caterpillar to cocoon to adult butterfly is a beautiful, dramatic resurrection.  The Apostle Paul writes:  “all of creation groans in anticipation of our redemption” (Romans 8:19-23).

Messianic Prophecies

Prophesies of Jesus’ resurrection start early in scripture.  Systematic theologians see salvation history as creation, fall, and redemption.  Because sin is the cause of death, eternal life requires forgiveness of sin which is brought about in Christ’s resurrection.  This transition is prophesied in Genesis:  “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (Gen 3:15 ESV).

Other theologians see resurrection arising out of righteous suffering.  The prophet Job writes not only of Christ, but his own resurrection:  “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another” (Job 19:25-27 ESV).  At the birth of the church on Pentecost (Acts 2:27), the Apostle Peter sees resurrection prophesied by King David:  “For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption” (Psalm 16:10).

When asked to produce a sign Jesus himself spoke of the sign of Jonah (Luke 11:29-32).  In the belly of the whale Jonah prayed:  “I called out to the LORD, out of my distress, and he answered me; out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and you heard my voice” (Jonah 2:2 ESV).  And the whale spit him out on dry land, another resurrection story.

Old Testament Resurrections Accounts

Resurrection did not start with Jesus.  Some see the story of the binding of Isaac as a resurrection account [1] and a prophecy of the cross (Genesis 22:1-18).  The prophet Elisha raises the Shunammite’s son from the dead (2 Kings 4:32-37).  In the valley of bones, Ezekiel prophesied about resurrection of the Nation of Israel (Ezekiel 37:3-6).  The exodus of the nation of Israel from Egypt and the return of the exiles from Babylon are both resurrection accounts where a dead nation rises to new life.

New Testament Resurrection Accounts

In the gospels, Jesus himself performed several resurrections.  He raised Jairus’s daughter from the dead (Mark 5:22-43).  He raised the widow’s son (Luke 7:12-17).  Most remarkably, after lying four days in the tomb he raised Lazarus from death (John 11:1-45).  Like other resurrections, Jesus’ healings and exorcisms brought hope where there was none.

Some scholars believe that John Mark’s gospel recorded Apostle Peter’s testimony while he was in Rome during AD 41-54.  Mark later traveled with Paul.  Mark’s role was to teach about the life of Jesus.  Later, Luke may have assumed this role in Paul’s missionary team.

Mark’s Unusual Ending

Interestingly, Mark did no see the gospel ending with Jesus.  Neither did Luke whose gospel was followed by the Book of Acts.  Mark’s gospel starts with:  “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (Mark 1:1 ESV).  Scholars believe that Mark’s gospel ends with the woman going out from the tomb to relay the angel’s message:  “But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee” (Mark 16:7 ESV).  Likewise, our part in salvation history is to pass on the story.  As the hymnist Katherine Hankey (1834-1911) writes:  “I love to tell the story, of unseen things above, of Jesus and his glory, of Jesus and his love…” [2]

Christian Hope

Christian hope starts with the resurrection: we know that death is not the end of life’s story.  And because we know the rest of the story, we can invest in life and live each day with boldness and joy

Footnotes

[1] Did Abraham believe God would raise Isaac from the dead?  Why did the angel have to tell Abraham twice?

[2] www.hymnsite.com/lyrics/umh156.sht

Mark 16: Easter

Also see:

A Roadmap of Simple Faith

Christian Spirituality 

Looking Back 

A Place for Authoritative Prayer 

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net,

Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter: http://bit.ly/HailMary21

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Prayer Day 20

Available on Amazon.com

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

Holy and Compassionate Father.

We praise you for creating us in your image.

We praise you for the gift of eternal life and for the gift of your son, Jesus Christ.

In the power of your Holy Spirit, grant us strength for each day.

Forgive our sin; heal our hearts; reconcile us with you and with each other.

In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.

Prayer Day 20

Also see:

Believer’s Prayer

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net

Purchase Book: http://www.T2Pneuma.com

 

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Oración Dia 20 

Cubierta por Una Guia Cristian a la Espiritualidad

Por Stephen W. Hiemstra

Padre santo y compasivo.

Te alabamos por creanos en tu imagen.

Te alabamos por el regalo de la vida eterna y el regalo de tu hijo, Jesucristo.

En el poder de tu Espíritu Santo, danos la fuerza para cada día.

Perdona nuestros pecados; sana nuestros corazones; reconcilianos contigo y con los demás.

En el precioso nombre de Jesús oramos, Amén.

Oración Dia 20

Ver también:

Prefacio de La Guía Cristiana a la Espiritualidad

Otras formas de participar en línea:

Sitio del autor: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net

Comprar Libro: http://www.T2Pneuma.com

Boletín informativo: http://bit.ly/HailMary21

 

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Gebetstag 20

Ein Christlicher Leitfaden zur Spiritualität, 20201014

Von Stephen W. Hiemstra

Heiliger und mitfühlender Vater.

Wir preisen dich dafür, dass du uns nach deinem Bild geschaffen haben.

Wir preisen dich für das Gabe des ewigen Lebens und für das Gabe deines Sohnes Jesus Christus.

Gewähre uns in der Kraft deines Heiligen Geistes Kraft für jeden Tag.

Vergib unsere Sünde; heile unsere Herzen; versöhne uns mit dir und miteinander.

In Jesu kostbarem Namen, Amen.

Gebetstag 20

Siehe auch:

Einleitung auf Ein Christlicher Leitfaden zur Spiritualität 

Andere Möglichkeiten, sich online zu engagieren:

Autoren Seite: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net

Herausgeber Seite: http://www.T2Pneuma.com

Mitteilungsblatt: http://bit.ly/HailMary21

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Mark 15: Holy Saturday

Frank and Gertrude Hiemstra, Grave“And Joseph bought a linen shroud, and taking him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud and laid him in a tomb that had been cut out of the rock.

And he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb.” (Mark 15:46 ESV)

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

Jesus is buried on the Day of Preparation which ends at sundown when the Jewish Sabbath begins. This detail in Mark’s Gospel is important because burial was forbidden on the Sabbath[1] and executed criminals could not hang overnight (Deut 21:23). The Gospels mention nothing taking place on the Sabbath while Jesus lay in the tomb and the narrative resumes on the following day. In other words, Jesus rested in the tomb over the Sabbath. Holy Saturday was a day of mourning and grief.

A Grieving Holiday

Grief is more than crying. In Jesus’ Beatitudes, Matthew records: “Honored are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matt 5:4) Luke records: “Honored are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.” (Luke 6:21) Both accounts of this Beatitude are written in the form of a lament which has two parts.  In the first part, one empties the heart of all grief and pain and anxiety in prayer to God; in the second part, having been emptied the heart turns to God in praise. In the lament, when we grieve, we make room in our hearts for God.

The Theology of Lament

The most famous lament in the Bible is cited by the Gospel of Mark as Jesus’ last words: “My god, my god, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34)[2] These words come from Psalm 22 verse one which turns to God in verse 19: “But You, O LORD, be not far off; O You my help, hasten to my assistance.” At a time when much of scripture was memorized, rabbis would cite the first part of a passage knowing that the audience would fill in the missing part. Knowing this tradition[3], Jesus could cite the first verse in Psalm 22 knowing that people hearing him would know the Psalm and how it ended.

Jesus gave us a template for dealing with grief the night before during his prayer in Gethsemane. Mark records that Jesus’ prayed three times:  “Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will.” (Mark 14:36). Jesus is aware that he stands before the cross and does not want to die; still, he yields to God’s will. Each time we face pain and grief we are faced with a decision: do we turn to God or do we turn into our grief? Our identity is crafted from a lifetime of such decisions.

Joseph of Arimathea

The story of Joseph of Arimathea is instructive. Mark records: “Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, took courage and went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.” (Mark 15:43) Asking for the body of a man just crucified for sedition took guts. Yet, with no expectation of resurrection, on a day when Jesus’ inner circle was in hiding and in fear, Joseph “took courage” and asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Then, he buried him in his own grave [4].

Holy Saturday Reveals our Theology

Holy Saturday is a time to reflect on Christ’s crucifixion. Are we among those happy to see Jesus in the tomb or are we looking forward to the kingdom of God like Joseph of Arimathea?

Footnotes

[1] Burial is work, hence forbidden on the Sabbath (e.g. Deut 5:12-15).

[2] Also: Matthew 27:46. The direct citation of an Aramaic expression—“Eli, eli, lama sabachthani?” in both the Mark and Matthew accounts makes it more likely that these are the actual words of Jesus. This is because the most important expressions in the Bible are cited directly rather than translated or, in this case, the actual words are both cited and translated.

[3] Jesus does exactly that in Matthew 21:16 citing Psalm 8:2.

[4] What a picture of substitutionary atonement—Jesus was buried in my grave so that I do not have to be.

Mark 15: Holy Saturday

Also see:

A Roadmap of Simple Faith

Christian Spirituality 

Looking Back 

A Place for Authoritative Prayer

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net,

Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter: http://bit.ly/HailMary21

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Mark 15: Good Friday

Paining of the crucifixion
The Crucifixion

“And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said,

Truly this man was the Son of God!” (Mark 15:39 ESV)

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

Second Trial

Pontius Pilate gets right to the point:  “Are you the King of the Jews?”  Jesus answers with two words–σὺ λέγεις—which means:  you say (Mark 15:2). The chief priests accuse him of many things.  Pilate asks Jesus a second question:  “Have you no answer to make?” (Mark 15:4)  Jesus does not respond (Isaiah 53:7).  Pilate is amazed.

First Trial

The night before, the high priest asked Jesus if he is the Messiah (Christ).  Jesus responded using the words God from Exodus 3:14 saying:  “I am”.  Then, in case anyone misunderstood him, he paraphrased the messianic prophecy in Daniel 7:13:  “you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven” (Mark 14:62 ESV).  The high priest accordingly accused Jesus of blasphemy which is punishable by stoning under Jewish law (Leviticus 24:16).  But since Rome reserved the right to decide all cases of capital punishment, the chief priests accused Jesus of the political crime of sedition—treason against Rome.  This is why Pilate asked Jesus:  “Are you the King of the Jews?” (Mark 15:2)

What Kind of Messiah?

Realizing that Jesus is innocent of the charge of sedition, like a good politician Pilate begins working the crowd.  In offering to release a prisoner named Barabbas, who was guilty of both sedition and murder (Mark 15:7), Pilate is effectively asking the crowd what kind of Messiah they prefer.  The crowd asked for Barabbas who was known to be a Jewish nationalist—in other words, the crowd prefers a kingly Messiah.

Messiah means anointed one in Hebrew which translates as Christ in Greek.  Three types of roles are anointed:  prophets, priests, and kings.  In his earthly ministry, Jesus embodied the first two roles (prophet and priest), but the crowd wanted a king—someone to drive the Romans out—as we saw earlier in Mark 11:10.

So Pilate gave them what they wanted (Romans 1:24-25), washed his hands of the decision, and sent Jesus to the cross.

Mark 15: Good Friday

Also see:

A Roadmap of Simple Faith

Christian Spirituality 

Looking Back 

A Place for Authoritative Prayer 

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net,

Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter: http://bit.ly/HailMary21

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Everlasting Life

Cover, A Christian Guide to Spirituality

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

What is eternal life?

Our life in Christ is a journey which begins sinful and finite, but progresses towards holy and eternal.  The progress towards eternal life requires both spiritual restoration and bodily healing.

We normally think of God’s eternal nature before his holiness. This first aspect of eternal life is quantitative—overcoming death to live eternally with God. However, this line of thinking is backwards: death is the penalty for sin. In other words, sin causes death. God’s forgiveness in Christ removes the sin, removes the penalty of death, and makes eternal life possible.

Unfortunately, sin not only triggers a death penalty; it pollutes us and damages our relationships. For example, the Apostle Paul’s conversion included God’s forgiveness, but Paul’s ravaging of the church was not easily forgotten (Acts 8:2). Likewise, the murderer who is forgiven has his guilt removed, but the life taken has not been restored and his broken relationships remain broken.

Consequently, the second aspect of eternal life is qualitative—removing sin’s pollution and reconciling our relationships through Christ. The Apostle John writes: “this is eternal life that they may know you the one, true God and the one who you sent, Jesus Christ.” (John 17:3; my translation). We are a new creation in Christ and reconciled to Him, but reconciliation has two parts. The first part is reconciliation with God and it is completed with the work of Christ. The second part is reconciliation with brothers and sisters against whom we sinned (2 Cor 5:17-20). This final stage in reconciliation, which can only be completed with and through the power of the Holy Spirit, requires both sanctification of the individual and participation of the church. This is also area where the spiritual disciplines can focus most productively.

Eternal life, accordingly, begins with the work of Christ (justification and reconciliation with God), but continues in the work of the church (reconciliation with those we have sinned against). The Good News is that in Christ and through the Holy Spirit God’s work in us will be complete.

[1] Because of original sin, we are cut off from God at birth by sin and destined to die because of sin’s penalty—death. In Christ, we see the image of a holy and eternal God. Christ both affects our moral improvement (sinful to holy) and bodily healing (mortal to immortal)..

[2] John 3:36; Rom 10:9-10.

Everlasting Life

Also see:

Preface to A Christian Guide to Spirituality

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net

Purchase Book: http://www.T2Pneuma.com

 

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La Vida Eterna

Cubierta por Una Guia Cristian a la Espiritualidad

Por Stephen W. Hiemstra

¿Cual es la vida eterna?

Nuestra vida en Cristo es un viaje que empieza pecaminosa y finito, pero progresa hacia santo y eterna. El progreso hacia la vida eterna requiere ambos restauración espiritual y la sanación de la cuerpo.

Pensamos normalmente de la naturaleza eterna de Dios antes su santidad. Este aspecto primero de la vida eterna es cuantitativa–superación de la muerte a vivir eternamente con Dios. Sin embargo, la correcta linea de pensamiento es al revés: la muerte es la pena para los pecados. En otras palabras, los pecados causan la muerte. El perdón de Dios en Jesucristo quita el pecado, elimina la pena de muerte, y hace la vida eterna posible.

Por desgracia, los pecados no solo inicia una pena de muerte; se contamina a nos y daña nuestras relaciones. Por ejemplo, la conversión del Apóstol Pablo incluyó el perdón de Dios, sino saqueo de la iglesia no fue fácilmente olvido (Acts 8:2). Del mismo modo, el asesino quien se le perdona ha a su culpabilidad removido, pero la vida tomada no ha sido restaurada y sus relaciones rotas permanecerá roto.

Consecuentemente, el aspecto segundo de la vida eterna es cualitativa—a remover la contaminación de los pecados y reconciliar de nuestras relaciones a través de Cristo. El Apóstol Juan escrita: “`Y ésta es la vida eterna: que Te conozcan a Ti, el único Dios verdadero, y a Jesucristo, a quien has enviado.” (John 17:3 NBH) Estamos una nueva creación en Cristo y reconciliado a él, pero la reconciliación tiene dos partes. La primera parte es reconciliación con Dios y esta completo con la obra de Cristo. La segunda parte es reconciliación con hermanos y hermanas contra quien hemos pecado (2 Cor 5:17-20). Esta etapa final en reconciliación, que puede ser completo con y a través del poder del Espíritu Santo, requiere ambos la santificación de la persona y la participación de la iglesia. Este es un área donde las disciplinas espiritual puede productivamente la mayoría enfoque.

La vida eterna, en consecuencia, se inicia con la obra de Cristo (justificación y reconciliación con Dios), pero continua en la obra de la iglesia (reconciliación con ellos contra quien hemos pecado). Las Buenas Noticias es que en Cristo y a través del Espíritu Santo la obra de Dios en nosotros será ser completa.

[1] Por razón de pecados, estamos separados de Dios en nacimientos y somos destinado a morir por causa de la pena de los pecados—la muerte. En Cristo, vemos la imagen de un Dios santo y eterna. Cristo afecta ambos nuestra mejora moral (pecaminosa a santo) y la sanidad del cuerpo (mortal a inmoral).

[2] John 3:36; Rom 10:9-10.

La Vida Eterna

Ver también:

Prefacio de La Guía Cristiana a la Espiritualidad

Otras formas de participar en línea:

Sitio del autor: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net

Comprar Libro: http://www.T2Pneuma.com

Boletín informativo: http://bit.ly/HailMary21

 

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