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Resurrection Faith

April 7, 2005

Dear Friend of Mary Craig Ministries,

As the world wrestles with the poignant issues of life and death, sanctity and dignity, I sit here wondering how the gospel prepares us to live and die without fear. Fear paralyzes. Fear imprisons. Fear impedes. Yet in the life and atoning death of Jesus Christ the power of sin, the power of death, the power of Satan, the power of sickness, the power of evil, the power of the world, and the power of fear are broken. Indeed, every knee and name bows. As the veil is rent, the glory of Christís love bursts forth to show us the truth of a more excellent way.

Jesus rose from the dead. But did the fact of the resurrection of Jesus Christ become immediately absorbed into the minds of Jesusí followers? No. According to Mark 16.8, "trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid." Even though the stone had been removed, the body was absent, angels appeared, several women, Peter and John saw the empty tomb, two on the road to Emmaus gave testimony, and Jesus appeared to the eleven, not everyone was convinced. Jesusí friends feared the Jews, feared that the body had been mutilated, that there had been no resurrection. Later, Thomas had to see before he believed. Jesus had to confirm to His disciples His Lordship. (John 20) Fears turned to faith as Jesusí followers met the risen Jesus.

Resurrection. Anastasis means "rise," "resurrection from the dead." Jesus rose from the dead, taking a stand against repressive powers. Jesus is revolutionary. He revolted against our indifference to the ways of God, our friendship with the ways of the world, and our worship of the creation. He turned the tables on the enemy, our enemies. He died that we might live. He said,

"I am the Resurrection and the Life. He that believes in Me,
though he were dead, yet shall he live;
and whosoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.
Do you believe this?" (John 11.25, 26)

Jesus authored resurrection faith. It was necessary for the Christ to suffer and rise from the dead. He challenges us to preach repentance and remission of sins in His name among all nations. He sends us out as the Father has sent Him. He extends His peace to humanity. He shows us a more excellent way.

What can the faithful teach us? Job said his intimate friends detested him. Those he loved had turned against him. He was nothing but skin and bones and escaped by the skin of his teeth. Yet he could say, "I know that my Redeemer lives, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me." (Job 19.24-27)

"By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall your seed be called: accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure." (Hebrews 11.17-19) Abraham had such a walk with God that convinced him that God could and would raise Isaac from the dead. He considered God faithful. God had given him Isaac when he and Sarah were "as good as dead." Abraham believed that nothing was impossible for God. In Genesis 22 he says, "We will worship and then we will come back to you." (Genesis 22.5) He did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God. He was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God. He was fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised. (Romans 4.18-22)

And what about Habakkuk? The prophet, whose name means "embracer" or "wrestler," queries why God would allow such injustice against His own people, such violence and suffering. But the nation had violated the stipulations of the covenant. God knows! It is the people who should look and see and be astonished at the judgment of God. Though Habakkuk braced himself for the Lordís rebuke, he is answered with a vision of hope, a vision contrasting the righteous by faith with the proud. Like Abraham, Habakkuk wonders how God will be true to His promise if the people of God get wiped out. The answer? The just shall live by faith.

The just shall live by faith. We could express it as, the justified shall live by his steadfast trust. How does the gift of life continue to be received? By faith. What is he saying? Heís saying that those who trust Godís grace for their very existence presently and continuously shall live. Those who do this will survive the devastating judgments of God. Faith overcomes.

Paul will tell you more about who the just are in Romans. He will tell you about living in Galatians; and the writer to the Hebrews will tell you about living by faith. The just shall live by faith. After the loss of luxuries, after the loss of necessities, after the loss of all things, Godís grace endures. Listen to Godís voice and cling to Him. Embrace Him. Move into a resurrection faith. Say with Habakkuk, "Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The LORD God is my strength, and He will make my feet like hindsí feet, and He will make me to walk upon mine high places." (Habakkuk 3.18)

Resurrection faith is more than accepting the facts of the resurrection. It is more than believing that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is available to you now. Resurrection faith is knowing the hope to which God has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and His incomparably great power for those who believe. (Ephesians 1.15-23) Resurrection faith is embracing not only the promises of God but also God Himself.

Itís hard to face losses, but when we look at Jesus and see how He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification (Romans 4.24, 25), we are emboldened to come to Christ and cling to the cross. We find faith to lose our lives that we might find a better life. We find power, Godís power, to redeem our life, salvage it, transform it into something beautiful.

Doubting is always easier than having faith in what God says. Itís always easier to figure out how to make Godís promises come to pass and work our own plans rather than Godís plan. Itís harder to wait when the vision tarries and trust that though the vision tarries, it will surely come to be. Itís easier to fall before our fears than to ask God for help. Itís easier to return or stay with what we know than to launch into the unknown. But if we relinquish our hold on ourselves and embrace Christ, we find a love, the love of God, raising us up, overcoming the power of the grave, giving us beauty for ashes.

Paul would come to write, "Yea doubtless, and I count all things loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead." (Philippians 3.8-11) (Read all of Philippians, a letter of joy.)

Let go. Embrace Christ with resurrection faith.

Iíve enclosed a brochure this month about our Barnabas Project, David Patten, Director. You can see for yourselves how this ministry is growing and blessing hundreds of people through your gifts and support. May 1st we have another mission day trip to minister to the Mayan migrant workers here in South Florida. I know youíll want to be part of this and I also know you will be blessed.

This summer we have mission teams going to Eastern Europe and also to Turkey. We have three people who need help financially in order to go. I hope you will pray about what the Holy Spirit might lead you to do in the areas of prayer and giving to the extension of the gospel. You can designate your gift for "world missions."

Giving brings hope. Thank you for reaching out and touching lives. Your gifts to Mary Craig Ministries enable us to bring Jesus to a hurting world and share the gospel of grace to the lost. Your gifts enable others to embrace Christ with resurrection faith.

Lives are being changed, transformed by Godís love. You can read Raeganís testimony about what it meant for her to participate in the mission trip to the Virgin Islands. She learned some basics about spiritual warfare, how to prepare for such a trip, and the power of prayer and listening to the Lord.

Embracing Christ as God gives grace,

Mary Craig

P.S. In the area? Worship with us 4:30 p.m. Sundays, at Craighouse®, located in the Pompano Plaza at 114 E. McNab Road, Pompano Beach, FL 33060. Youíll like our new worship team! After the service, join Rev. Jim Craig to discuss the message or have prayer with Dr. Mary Craig. Visit www.craighouse.org for a map, and www.marycraig.org for more events.

And the Lord answered me, and said,
Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables,
That he may run that reads it.
For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but
At the end it shall speak, and not lie:
Though it tarry, wait for it;
Because it will surely come, it will not tarry.
Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him:
But the just shall live by his faith.
(Habakkuk 2.2-4)

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for
It is the power of God unto salvation to
Everyone that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from
Faith to faith: as it is written.
The just shall live by faith.
(Romans 1.16, 17)

For we are saved by hope: but
Hope that is seen is not hope:
For what a man sees, why does he yet hope for?
But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with
Patience wait for it. (Romans 8.24, 25)


Where to Give

Mary Craig Ministries, Inc.
P.O. Box 4610
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida 33338-4610

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*Mary Craig Ministries is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. All gifts are tax-deductible as allowed by law.



Raeganís Testimony

First MissionÖLISTEN!

Joanna Craig and I began studying the spiritual warfare strategy for the nations late summer, early fall in 2004. We studied faithfully each week as much as possible. If we skipped a week, weíd double up the next. Throughout our preparations for the mission trip to the Virgin Islands, my biggest concern was that I was consuming so much information in a short amount of time that I would not be able to use the words when they were needed. Joanna reminded me that the Lord would help provide the words.

I had chosen to memorize a few verses for a project, and Joanna sent me a suggested list. One verse I memorized was, "The Lord will fight for you. All you need is to be still."

The morning of our commissioning service, Joanna told me that sheíd hoped that was one I had chosen. In regards to my concerns about not retaining the strategy session information, to me this meant if I were still and listened, the Lord would help me speak His Word. I also felt that He was speaking to me through Joanna, knowing my concerns, comforting me, and allowing me to be closer to Him.

While we were reading scriptures from the New Testament on the mission trip, I was amazed at how much I recalled when we read the Words of Jesus. I remember saying, "Oh yeah! I remember that verse." I got so excited I think I made Joanna laugh a few times (Iím a very animated person). I now know that the Words of Jesus [the words in red in the NT] are with me, and Iím prepared to use them when needed or called upon.

The biggest impact that the strategy and mission trip have had on me thus far is witnessing the power of prayer and listening to the Lord when He speaks to you or when He uses others to speak to you. The night of our commissioning, Dr. Mark Richardson told us that we would have some sort of interaction with a family; he was impressed by the Holy Spirit to say this. The second night on the trip, Joanna and I had a dinner with a wonderful family who later "adopted" me when they didnít see me with Joanna. I had many meaningful and interesting encounters with this family during the trip. This in itself was a testimony to me.

It seems the strongest message I think Iíve received is to "LISTEN." Prior to the trip, I had already received blessings. I received a new job and a possible raise (tithe returns!). Since my return, Iíve spent more time with my new team at work, and they are great people. I hope the spiritual warfare strategy and everything Iíve learned continues to have an impact in my life. I feel truly blessed to be a part of the MCM family. A special thank you to Rev. Jim and Dr. Mary Craig for all their guidance, advice, and help.

Many blessings in Christ,

Raegan Weber

Washington, D.C.

Copyright © 2005 Mary Craig Ministries, Inc.

mary@marycraig.org

 

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