Dear Loved One,
On a Sunday morning some 30 years ago I walked, wincing in pain and leaning on the arm of one of my pastoral staff members, to the center of the platform at Church On The Way. Taking a seat on the high stool that awaited me there I looked across the sanctuary at the sea of concerned faces. I’d preached many long and joyful messages to this congregation over the years, but this was not going to be one of them.
“I just want to talk to you for about five minutes,” I said, “and then I’m going to be going back home.”
Very candidly I explained that I was suffering from a serious infection. Although it was being treated with antibiotics, it had drained me of strength. The doctor felt I needed several weeks of bed rest, so I would not be at the church for a while.
With that announcement I bid everyone a loving and temporary goodbye. Then, having put my life and ministry temporarily on hold, I limped out of the sanctuary. My assumption was that I’d just rest for a while, recover, and then pick up where I left off—charging ahead into an ever brighter future.
The devil, however, had other plans.
In the days and weeks that followed, he began to float questions across my mind. As I lay on my back in bed and thought about my life I found myself wondering, “Could it be that my best years are behind me? Could it be that, after enjoying such a marvelous visitation of grace during my 17 years of ministry, God’s plan for me had begun to wane?”
As I considered this possibility, I didn’t feel overcome with discouragement. I just sensed a chill of doubt settling over my future. “Perhaps I need to adjust my expectations downward,” I thought. Maybe there wasn’t very much ahead for me after all.
It was a reasonable line of thinking, really. One you’re probably familiar with yourself. Most likely you too have had such thoughts when some cruel or stubborn circumstance left you sitting in the shadows. In seasons when your life seemed to be on hold, you may have even pondered the same possibility I did:
“Maybe this is it for me. Maybe what I thought that God promised me is never going to happen. Maybe I should prepare myself to settle for something less.”
Such thoughts may seem sensible at times, but they’re actually dangerous. They come from the devil and they completely contradict what God tells us in the Bible. He says our path is “like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day” (Prov. 4:18).
He promises to always lead us forth in triumph and to take us “from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Cor. 2:14; 3:18).
“But Pastor Jack,” you might say, “I’ve experienced some major delays and disappointments in my life. When I think of the future I had hoped for, sometimes I just can’t see any way to get there from here!”
Well then, you’re actually in in very good position. You’re in the same place Jesus’ first 12 disciples were right before His resurrection. Their future was in shambles. All their hopes and expectations had died on the Cross. All their God-given dreams, every Scriptural promise they’d staked their lives upon, had been wrapped up with Jesus in grave clothes and sealed in a darkened tomb.
But you know as well as I do, that’s not how the story ended.
On the third day, the resurrection power of God came on the scene and changed everything. It raised Jesus up out of that grave, and set the disciples’ path ablaze with the glory of God.
It will do the same thing for you! How can you be sure? Because Romans 8:11 says that the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead . . . will also give life to your mortal body through His Spirit who dwells in you.
That means you don’t have to wait until someday in the future to experience the power of the resurrection. It is available to all of us as believers right now!
The devil tried to make me forget that during those weeks I was lying in bed entertaining doubts about my future. But then one day something happened. I went outside, clad in my bathrobe and slippers to soak up some sunshine for a few minutes. Although I intended to venture no farther than the porch, the day was so warm and inviting I decided to walk down the driveway and past our neighbor’s house.
As I started up the street I saw it—something I’d never encountered in the 16 years we’d lived in that area.
A snake slithered across the ground about 15 feet from me.
I don’t know what kind of snake it was. But watching it twist its way toward the bushes, I knew I should stop it before it could hide and no one would know it was there. So I grabbed a sturdy board I’d seen near the porch and did what had to be done.
Skin crawling and heart pounding, I inched up on the snake, aimed for the head, and struck it with all my might. It coiled and I hit it again…and again…until it was utterly, completely dead.
With my energy spent and my hands bruised and scraped, I turned away from the battered snake to go back home—back to my bed and the thoughts of my less than lustrous future. But as I took the first step, I heard the loving voice of my heavenly Father quoting Romans 16:20:
“You will yet crush Satan’s head underfoot,” He said.
In the blink of an eye, those words shattered the lies of the devil and breathed resurrection life into my hopes and dreams. And today, Loved One, I want them to do the same for you. I want to remind you that because Jesus was “cut off” (Is. 53:10) on the cross of Calvary for the sake of all mankind, the devil can never cut you off from God’s glorious plan for your life.
No matter what delays or disappointments you may have encountered, because Jesus is alive and the devil is a defeated foe, you can keep your expectations sky high. You can trust God’s resurrection power to blast through every obstacle in your path and open the way for your divine hopes and dreams to unfold.
I’ve experienced it my life time and again, and I want to do everything I can to encourage your faith in the fact that what God has done for me He will do for you!
That’s why I’ve chosen four very special messages to send you as my way of saying, “thank you” for your generous support this month. Real Resurrection is a collection of my messages that examine Jesus’ rise from the grave from four key perspectives. I believe each message will encourage you as you press forward on the path to your God-ordained future. They’ll reinvigorate your hope and arm you with the truth you need to smash the devil’s lies.
Even if your future seems to be on hold right now, God’s plan for your life is not fading or forgotten. He hasn’t changed His mind about His purposes for you. He has promised to take you from glory to glory, and as you walk with Him you will inevitably see the rise of His resurrection grace and life.
Truly, you will yet crush Satan under your feet!
Rejoicing in Victory,
P.S. Don’t forget to click here and find out how to receive your special thank you gift this month, Real Resurrection. This collection of four messages will help ignite within you a fresh sense of excitement about your future. They’ll help reassure you that the path of your life really is like the light of dawn that grows brighter and brighter all the way!