Posts Tagged ‘John 11:25’

In memory of Victoria Lynn Dunn: A life becomes a legacy

December 10, 2015

Victoria DunnRecently on the very heels of a “mountain top time” of celebrating the goodness of God, as my wife and I were ordained to serve in ministry at Christian Provision Ministries in Sanford, NC, we returned home to learn that a beloved sister in Christ, Victoria Lynn Dunn, one whom we closely worked with over the past years, had suddenly passed away.

Though we know the truth that death is a part of our earthly existence, situations such as this remind us of the truth from Ecclesiastes which so clearly states:

3:1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

Even so, we still have difficulty grasping this stark reality at times like these. The poet says,

The mind made numb with pain can only try
To make sense of the immense ache that stays.
The answer sounds since Adam but still dismays:
It is appointed unto man once to die.

In response, the Psalmist speaks these words: “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” Each day provides us with countless opportunities to learn and grow in God. At times such as this the lyrics to the song “Lessons to Be Learned” speak to us:

Just like the seasons, there are reasons for the path we take.
There are no mistakes, only lessons to be learned.

And so we ask God, what are you trying to teach us in this situation where a dearly beloved friend and fellow believer has departed from this life. In this particular situation, we learn to trust in “the God of all comfort who comforts us with the comfort wherewith we able to comfort one another.” A passage Thessalonians reminds us that we are comforted by hope of the Return of Jesus Christ. Most amazingly, the Verse of the Day on the day that Victoria departed from this life was one of the metaphors that Jesus used to describe himself in John 11:25:

Jesus said to her, “I am the Resurrection and the Life. Whoever believes in (adheres to, trusts in, relies on) Me [as Savior] will live even if he dies;

As believers, we rejoice in knowing that just as Jesus died and rose again, so shall those who sleep in Jesus (or those who die in the Lord, be raised from the dead, and those who are alive and remain will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. Wherefore, the Apostle Paul says, “Comfort one another with these words.”

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 (NLT) provide great comfort and assurance:

13 And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died.
15 We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died.
16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves.
17 Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever.
18 So encourage each other with these words.

In recalling Victoria Lynn Dunn, my mind is flooded with fond memories. I close my eyes and hear an extraordinary singer with a voice echoing the pathos of legendary blues singers, the deep-seated joy of renowned gospel artists with whispers of jazz stylists all blended with a contemporary sound that was distinctively her own. More than just a great singer, she was a gifted psalmist with a prophetic voice to minister to the heart and soul of in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. In addition our beloved sister in Christ was a scholar of African American literature with a passion to teach, to enlighten and inspire, a poet, and most importantly a teacher with a rhema word from the heart of the Father. She shall surely be missed but during such times of loss, we are sustained by golden memories of a wonderful sister in Christ who touched and enriched our lives in so many ways.

In 2007 Victoria wrote a poem for her sister’s 50th birthday. This excerpt from the poem is a fitting tribute to Victoria Lynn Dunn, as we reflect upon her life and the legacy she leaves behind:

The Life That Becomes a Legacy

The life that becomes a legacy
is never merely measured in days
never simply seen through the haze of unmet expectations
and dreams deferred.

The life that becomes a legacy
is never merely one that teaches
but is one that reaches toward the mark
pressing whether or not it makes it—today.

The life that becomes a legacy
keeps kindly in view tomorrow
and mediates its sorrows
with joys unspeakable
and sometimes spoken.

The life that becomes a legacy
becomes that legacy
despite a history of many things
shattered
broken.

But never destroyed
for even broken things and broken wings can fly
Contrary to the black bard Dunbar
for there Is one far greater than he
and HE wrote your story before ever any bird was caged
HE set the stage of the play that would become the great drama of life.

And HE never sees anything too broken not to care
too broken for repair and, in fact, delights in repairing broken things
broken dreams
and making them new.

We close this blog entry by listening to Babbie Mason who sings “Trust His Heart” to remind us that

God is too wise to be mistaken;
God is too good to be unkind,
so when you don’t understand,
when you don’t see His plan;
when you can’t trace His hand,
trust His heart.

I am the resurrection and the life

December 7, 2015

John-11-25-26

Modified and re-posted below is a blog entry from a year ago:

Another in the series of seven metaphors related to the identity of Jesus Christ is found in John 11:25 (AMP), the Verse of the Day for December 7, 2015:

Jesus said to her, “I am the Resurrection and the Life. Whoever believes in (adheres to, trusts in, relies on) Me [as Savior] will live even if he dies;

The context for this comparison is set with the beloved friend of Jesus, Lazarus, who has died. From this particular narrative comes the shortest verse in the King James Bible found in John 11: 35: “Jesus wept.” The lyrics to an original song “Can You See Messiah Weeping?” describe what transpired in that moving account:

Can you see Messiah weeping, weeping?
Messiah is weeping because of his dear friend.
On the fourth day Jesus came to Bethany
Where Lazarus was sleeping, sleeping.
His life had come to an end.
Then Jesus plainly said, Lazarus is dead, Lazarus is dead.

His sisters ran to him and cried
Had you been here he would not have died.
Had you been here he would not have died.
Jesus answered, and he said in this death God will be glorified,
In this death God will be glorified.

As Jesus told the sisters, so he speaks to us:
I am the resurrection and the life.
He that believes on me, though he dies,
Yet shall he also live.
Believe on me and you shall arise.
Believe on me and you shall arise.
Though we may die, we shall arise.
Like Lazarus, we shall arise.
Nevermore to die, nevermore to die.

 

Garden tomb

The photo is of the Garden Tomb, believed to the place where Jesus Christ was laid after his crucifixion. The empty tomb symbolizes that Jesus Christ is, indeed, the “resurrection and the life.”

Jesus Christ embodies in his resurrection, the ultimate triumph of life over death. As one translation of John 11:25 notes, “The whole power to restore, impart, and maintain life, resides in Me.” 1 Corinthians 15: 54 makes this powerful declaration: “Death is swallowed up (utterly vanquished forever) in and unto victory,” according to the Amp1lified Bible.

Gaither Vocal Band offers a song which expresses the ultimate the triumph of the “Resurrection”:

I am the resurrection and the life

December 7, 2014

John-11-25-26

Another in the series of seven metaphors related to the identity of Jesus Christ is found in John 11:25 (NLT), the Verse of the Day for December 7, 2014:

Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying.

The context for this comparison is set with the beloved friend of Jesus, Lazarus, who has died. From this particular narrative comes the shortest verse in the King James Bible found in John 11: 35: “Jesus wept.” The lyrics to an original song “Can You See Messiah Weeping?” provide an account of what happened:

Can you see Messiah weeping, weeping?

Messiah is weeping because of his dear friend.

On the fourth day Jesus came to Bethany

where Lazurus was sleeping, sleeping.

His life had come to an end.

Then Jesus plainly said, Lazurus is dead, Lazurus is dead.

 

His sisters ran to him and cried

Had you been here he would not have died.

Had you been here he would not have died.

Jesus answered, and he said in this death God will be glorified,

In this death God will be glorified.

 

As Jesus told the sisters, so he speaks to us:

I am the resurrection and the life.

He that believes on me, though he dies,

Yet shall he also live.

Believe on me and you shall arise.

Believe on me and you shall arise.

Though we may die, we shall arise.

Like Lazurus, we shall arise.

Nevermore to die, nevermore to die.

Gotquestions.org commented on this situation:

When Jesus said, ‘I am the resurrection and the life,’ He was claiming to be the source of both. There is no resurrection apart from Christ, and there is no eternal life apart from Christ. Beyond that, Jesus was also making a statement concerning His divine nature. He does more than give life; He is life, and therefore death has no ultimate power over Him. Jesus confers this spiritual life on those who believe in Him, so that they share His triumph over death. Believers in Jesus Christ will experience the resurrection because having the life that Jesus gives makes it is impossible for death to defeat them.

Garden tomb

The photo is of the Garden Tomb, believed to the place where Jesus Christ was laid after his crucifixion. The empty tomb symbolizes that Jesus Christ is, indeed, the “resurrection and the life.”