Monday, August 31, 2009

What does the phrase 'the day after...' bring to your mind?

The Day After............

When you hear the phrase ‘The Day After.......’ what comes to your mind?

Perhaps you think of Japan ‘the day after’ the atomic bomb. Maybe you think of the horror, sorrow, despair, and fear those people felt the day after. Or maybe you think of the thankfulness the allied soldiers must have felt the day after - not because of the defeat of the Japanese - but because they would not be required to take the island by conventional military means. After all - the soldiers knew that an estimated One Million Casualties would be required to take that island. My dad was a very young country boy stationed in the Pacific Theater of that war. He thanked God for his life the day after.

Perhaps you think of something more recent like ‘the day after’ hurricane Katrina. What a disaster that was. People survived the hurricane only to face the flooding caused by the breaking of the levees.

Or do you think of ‘the day after’ something more personal? Maybe you think of the day after you lost a job; or the day after your house burned down; or the day after a loved one died.

All these things will fade away and be remembered no more by anyone. But there is a ‘Day After’ that will be remembered for eternity. That is the day after the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Just think about it.

When Jesus came, the world was dwelling in sorrow except for a few of the elite. Rome ruled the world through conquest and slavery. They had compassion on no one, and no love for their fellow man.

Into this bleak world came Jesus Christ - the Savior of the world.
He taught that we should love one another the way He loved us.
He taught that we should treat others the way we want to be treated.
He healed the sick.
He fed the hungry.
He had compassion on the multitudes.
He went out of His way to seek the woman at the well.
He even raised the dead.
He stopped what He was doing to provide for the needs of others.

And then - He died. I say He died instead of He was murdered because Jesus said: “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.’ (John 10:17-18)
The day Jesus died - His followers watched their hopes and dreams die on a Roman cross as Jesus died. When Jesus said, “It is finished” (John 19:30) - His followers must have thought, “He got that right - it is finished - everything is finished.

They faced the day after the death of the Savior. Who can comprehend the terror, sorrow, and despair the followers of Jesus felt the day after the crucifixion? And the people lived in this world of despair for three days. Then Jesus rose from the dead. The world was changed in an instant.
What an emotional roller coaster ride that must have been.
First - the world was filled with hope because Jesus was walking among them.
Then the world was filled with despair because all hope had died at the cross.

Then there was an empty tomb.

Then Jesus showed Himself to people.

Then ‘and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.” (Matthew 27:52-53)
Can you imagine how the people felt the day after all that happened?
Were some just numb - sitting and staring - trying to comprehend what had happened?

Were some filled with joy, singing, and shouting?
Were some like Thomas - filled with disbelief until they saw Jesus for themselves?

Were some angry that He rose up from the dead? After all - they killed Him once - that ought to be enough for anybody.

Did anyone fully understand that the age of the gentiles had come?

The followers of Jesus began to regroup. They had seen enough to kindle a fire in their hearts that would not be quenched. So great was their faith that it is still burning brightly 2000 years later. The early believers faced ‘The Day After’ and went forward to change the world forever.

Two thousand years later:

YOU enter onto the scene.
YOU have been saved.
YOU have become a Christian.
YOU have been baptized.
YOU have committed your life to following the teachings of Jesus Christ.
YOU have the complete Bible to read and learn from.
YOU have the examples given to you in the Bible on how to live a life pleasing to Christ.

But what about ‘The Day After’ YOU became a Christian?
Have you changed anything in your life to show the world you are a Christian?

Is Jesus pleased with what is in your heart today - or is it still filled with the same things it was filled with when you first met Christ?

Dear Christian, we all need to remember that there will be other ‘days after’.
There will be ‘the day after’ the rapture of the church. Some of our friends and loved ones really will be left behind to face the wrath to come.

There will be ‘the day after’ Armageddon - the day the blood in the valley will run so deep that it will reach the bridles on the horses.

There will be ‘the day after’ the final judgment - when the lost will be forever separated from the love of God.

There will be ‘the day after’ eternity begins.

There will be ‘the day after’ ‘the Lord Himself shall wipe away all tears from off all faces’.

What is there to be done today - that will bring about better ‘days after’?

What can YOU do to help others understand that through Jesus Christ they can escape the wrath to come?

What can YOU do to help someone understand that they need not die in the Valley of Armageddon - but can instead live a victorious life in Jesus Christ?

What can YOU do to help someone understand that he or she can escape the judgment to come by accepting the mercy offered by Jesus?

What can YOU do to help someone in despair today gain a glimpse of the place Jesus is preparing for those who love Him right now?

And finally - there will be ‘a day after’ the giving of rewards to believers. Will you have rewards? This is not a call to go out on your own and ‘win souls for Christ’. This is a call to seek God’s will - and then step out in faith and do what God asks of you. The first thing He asks of you is to be saved. Then He asks that you change your behavior to be more like Him. You can do this through faith that God will help you change the things in your life that are bothering Him. If you are proud - He will help you learn humility. If you are foolish - God will give you wisdom. If you are weak - God will give you strength. If you do not love your brothers - God will give you love for them. If you cannot forgive - God will enable you to forgive. In becoming more like Christ - you will lead others to Him.

Then - on the day after rewards are given to believers in heaven - you will have rewards. ‘The Day After’ time ends and eternity begins - your joy will be full.

To plan ahead for that day requires action right now. The early followers of Jesus changed their lives to be more like Him. In doing this - they changed the world. On ‘The Day After’ the resurrection of Jesus Christ - the first Christians realized they were not following cunningly devised fables - but that they were following the Living God.

You and I are in the same position. We are not following cunningly devised fables either. We are following the same Living God that the first believers followed after Jesus walked out of that tomb. How is it then that our lives often do not reflect our God - but rather reflect the world and a mere social gospel?

It is time for true Christians to GROW UP! If we really ARE  Christians this is the day to start acting like we are what we say we are.

This is a good day to say, THIS is ‘the day after’ my old life. Through the help of God - I will change the old ways of my life to new ways that please God and show the love of God to others.

The song for this article is “I Am Resolved” (I am resolved no longer to linger charmed by the world’s delight)

This is a great old hymn of the faith. It is easy to memorize - check it out and listen to it.
God bless you. Thank you for reading my article.

Barbara Henderson


I am resolved no longer to linger,
Charmed by the world’s delight,
Things that are higher, things that are nobler,
These have allured my sight.
I will hasten to Him, hasten so glad and free;
Jesus, greatest, highest, I will come to Thee.
I will hasten, hasten to Him, hasten so glad and free;
Jesus, Jesus, greatest, highest, I will come to Thee.
I am resolved to go to the Savior,
Leaving my sin and strife;
He is the true One, He is the just One,
He hath the words of life.
I am resolved to follow the Savior,
Faithful and true each day;
Heed what He sayeth, do what He willeth,
He is the living Way.
I am resolved to enter the kingdom
Leaving the paths of sin;
Friends may oppose me, foes may beset me,
Still will I enter in.
I am resolved, and who will go with me?
Come, friends, without delay,
Taught by the Bible, led by the Spirit,
We’ll walk the heav’nly way.

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