Several years ago I was serving at a men’s prison, going in a few days each week to teach and preach the Word of God. One time I was invited as a guest to an event called “The Easter Social”. The Prison Chaplain had arranged a service for a hundred men that included serving them dinner, providing worship music and then delivering a message. There was a large band that came in from Saddleback Church for the worship music, and a Pastor was arranged to bring the message that night.
The band was able to get through all the security checkpoints, four separate check points in all, as it was a higher security yard. This yard housed lifers, those prisoners that have a life sentence. I can tell you some of the men on this yard have a faith that would rock the foundations of a church on the outside. On this day the Pastor was unable to get through the checkpoints. It happens, the prison ministry is a ministry of inconvenience. I think all ministries fall into this category. The only people who think ministry is easy are those that never do it. Pray for those who serve.
The Chaplain asked me about a half hour before the service began if I could fill in to give the message. My friends, always be ready to give a message. You never know when you will have even one person before you that is ready to hear the gospel. Never think you need to be qualified of yourself, but only a saint given over to the power of God.
I went off by myself for twenty minutes to prepare. I spent most of the time in prayer. If you want to draw upon the resources of God, you must rely solely upon Him. The gravest error made by Christian workers today is in relying upon their own abilities. The Lord Jesus said, “…do not worry about how or what you should answer, or what you should say. For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say” (Luke 12:11-12). When once you believe this, you never need rely upon yourself ever again.
We have a choice in our walk of faith. We are either going to believe the words of Jesus, or we are not going to have a faith as we should. The problem with believers today is that they don’t really believe. They have more faith that there will be donuts after service than the Lord Jesus will be in their midst during the service. Yet Jesus promised, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20). Where is your faith?
On that day I preached from a message that the Apostle Paul gave. He wrote, “And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile…” (1 Corinthians 15:17). The Christian faith hinges upon this truth: that the Lord Jesus rose from the dead and lives today. If you believe that Christ lives, then learn to believe in all the words that He said. “Jesus said to him, ‘If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes’” (Mark 9:23). Pray for the impossible and then you are praying on holy ground.
You are never more than a single heartbeat away from heaven. It is but a single breath that stands between you and the loved ones you have lost. “But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14). The hope of Christ trumps the sorrows of this world.
It is not in question if the Lord Jesus rose from the dead and now lives. He rose and He lives. But the great question of your life is has He risen in you and does His life reign in your own? “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:3-4).
Stop hurting the Lord by questioning His ability to forgive your past, and just follow Him. “Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons” (Mark 16:9). He loves you by His qualifications, not yours.
Blessings to you,
5 thoughts on “He Is Risen”
This is definitely food for thought. I am NOT always prepared, and I should be. I’m comfortable talking about my faith and the reasons for it with friends and loved ones, but not so much with strangers. Will be mulling this over and praying about it.
As i fly between Boston and LAX every other week I get the great blessing to meet and minister to some unbelievers. If they are willing to listen, it is a great joy to share with them. The way I do is to just talk about how the Lord has changed my life. That is not threatening, I am not forcing anything upon them, but just being vulnerable in opening up of where I was, and where I am now.
I’m not sure I have the courage to discuss my sordid past with strangers. Sure, I can do it on the internet because the odds are slim that I will ever meet any of them in real time. I need the Spirit to embolden me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no shrinking violet and I have the ability to engage others in conversation using my God-given wit, making them laugh and open up to me, but I also tend to use that wit to keep them at arms length. Once I feel I can trust a person (in real time), I find it easier to discuss my past, the growth and changes I’ve experienced since becoming a follower of Jesus. Perhaps I fear rejection or condemnation if they knew who I used to be, I don’t know. But I will be praying about this.
I think you are very wise to discuss some things with only those you can truly trust. Especially details of our past or how we are, as unfortunately people may hurt us by our own words. But in sharing the gospel to people you do not know well, i would suggest to keep your testimony very general about anything you did wrong, and spend more time talking about all the Lord has done for you! We have such a wonderful God!