Do You Know?

Do you know what this day signifies? It is the fortieth day of the Easter season, Ascension Day in the christian church. Today we remember that Jesus died on the cross but that He did not remain in the grave. The third day he rose and on this day He ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand of God the Father. We read of the account in the Gospel of Luke, chapter twenty-four, verses forty-four through fifty-three.

And He said unto them,

These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning Me.

Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, and said unto them , Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. And, Behold, I send the promise of My Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.

And He led them out as far as to Bethany, and He lifted up His hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while He blessed them, He was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.

And they worshipped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: and were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God.

Oswald Chambers writes in his devotional My Utmost For His Highest:

His cross is the door by which every member of the human race can enter into the life of God; by His Resurrection He has the right to give eternal life to any man, and by His Ascension Our Lord enters heaven and keeps the door open for humanity.

On the Mount of Ascension the Transfiguration is completed. If Jesus had gone to heaven from the Mount of Transfiguration, He would have gone alone; He would have been nothing more to us than a glorious Figure. But He turned His back on the glory, and came down from the Mount to identify Himself with fallen humanity.

The Ascension if the consummation of the Transfiguration. Our Lord does now go back into His primal glory; but He does not go back simply as Son of God; He goes back to God as Son of Man as well as Son of God. There is now freedom of access for anyone straight to the very throne of God by the Ascension of the Son of Man.

Jesus opened the door for all who desire a relationship with God. He provided the bridge that spanned the gulf created by sin. This day is important to the community of faith. There are no Hallmark Cards to mark the day, no public celebrations, no gifts to buy or special meal to prepare, only your heart, mind, and soul focused on what God has done to bring us back to Himself.

Take time to reflect on what this day signifies.

Trusting, Still Trusting

Are you feeling under pressure these days? As this crisis goes on the pressure mounts because we are disconnected from the familiar. Some are unable to work because their work is deemed “nonessential” while others are stretched to the breaking point because they have no relief. We think of those who are working in the medical field but this pandemic has made working in a grocery store hazardous. This is true for others as well.

Uncertainty raises our stress level. We are living in uncertain times. When will everyone return to work? When will the schools reopen? When will we be able to take a trip, visit family, go out without a mask, shake a hand, give a hug? When will we be able to gather together to worship as we choose?

We are blessed with the technology that allows us to visit over the computer, purchase items for delivery, even have contact with our doctor. These things are all helpful. However, over an extended period of time they are not a substitute for personal contact. We need human touch. We need to see the smiles that a mask hides. So we find ourselves under pressure.

The devotional reading from Streams In The Desert for yesterday was very timely. Reminding me that it takes pressure for us to grow as Christians.

Pressed out of measure and pressed to all length;

Pressed so intently it seems, beyond strength;

Pressed in the body and pressed in the soul,

Pressed in the mind till the dark surges roll.

Pressure by foes, and a pressure from friends.

Pressure on pressure, till life nearly ends.

Pressed into knowing no helper but God;

Pressed into loving the staff and the rod.

Pressed into liberty where nothing clings;

Pressed into faith for impossible things.

Pressed into living a life in the Lord,

Pressed into living a Christ-life outpoured.

Grapes can’t become wine unless they are squeezed. Dough is kneaded and baked to become bread. As followers of Christ we are called to be “broken bread and poured out wine.” We will face pressure but Jesus gives us His word in John 16: 33.

These things I have spoken unto you,

that in Me you might have peace.

In the world ye shall have tribulation:

but be of good cheer;

I have overcome the world.