When is the last time you celebrated Ascension Day? If you're like me, never. My faith tradition does not recognize this religious holiday. Of course, we recognize that Christ ascended into heaven 40 days after His resurrection; however, it is not given the special recognition that Christ's birth, death, and resurrection receives.

Recently, I noticed Ascension Day on my calendar. "Hmmm, I need to check into this." Curiosity led me to a brief internet search and an interesting conversation with my Catholic friends. However, the scriptures really sparked enthusiasm about the ascension. I rediscovered some fantastic truths:

  1. Jesus told us to share His message of love and hope just before He ascended into heaven. (Matthew 28:18-20)

  2. Jesus promised to send the gift of the Holy Spirit that equips us to share that message and otherwise serve in His kingdom. (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:5)

  3. Jesus will return the same way that He departed; in a cloud and visible to all. (Acts 1:9-11)

For the sake of keeping this a brief blog instead of a long article, let's open door number three.

As they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight, and while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, "Why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven." (Acts 1:9-11, ESV, emphasis added)

Can you picture the disciples staring into the sky, with their jaws on the ground? While they're focused on the sky, two angels showed up with a declaration about Jesus' future return: just the way He left. Visible. In a cloud.

Jesus and Clouds

The ascension is not the first time that a cloud showed up when Jesus was on the scene, nor will it be the last.

At the Transfiguration, Peter, James, and John witnessed a mountaintop miracle. Jesus' appearance brightened and then two of God's servants appeared with Him: Moses and Elijah.

A bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him." (Matthew 17:5, ESV, emphasis added)

What was the Father's purpose for communicating in this miraculous way? One reason is found in the command to listen to Jesus. I ask myself daily: Am I listening to Jesus?

Jesus will again appear with glorious clouds.

Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him. (Revelation 1:7a, emphasis added)

(See also Daniel 7:13, Matthew 24:30, 26:64, Revelation 14:14)

What's So Great About a Cloud?

God in His grace, plainly revealed how Jesus will return. Ignore false messiahs who claim to be the returning Christ. If they are not coming from above, in the clouds, visible to all, then REJECT them!

How Should We Respond to the Ascension of Jesus?

How should the ascension impact our lives? This clear sign does not give us a pass to leisurely cloud watch. While we're looking up, we're also to look around us to those who need to hear the good news of Christ's sacrificial love for all people.

Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere. (Mark 16:20a, NIV)

Also, like the disciples, Christ's ascension gives us another reason to joyfully worship Jesus. In the Luke account, after their Lord went up into heaven, the disciples worshiped Him and were "continually . . . praising God".

We can be encouraged in this broken world as we meditate on the ascension of Christ, and as we await our Savior's return.

Look up, friends! I see distant clouds approaching!

Photo credit: Unsplash/Steve Halama

Let's talk! Reach out to me about what you just read through the Contacts Page. I'm looking forward to hearing from you, my friends.

  • Do you observe Ascension Day?

  • Do you think it's important that Jesus ascended into heaven? Why?

  • Are you looking forward to Christ's return? Why or why not?

#ascensionday #ascension #religiousholiday #clouds #Christreturn #heaven

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This post is an adaptation from my yet-to-be-published book, Misfits on a Journey with Jesus: a 60-Day Exploration. You can find more information about my book on my website.


What's your next life-changing event? Graduation? Marriage? A new baby? Whatever it might be, you're drowning in the sea of preparation. These joyful occasions require careful planning. Even God saw the need for preparing for His world-changing event: Jesus.

God sent a special messenger to prepare the world for Jesus' miraculous ministry. John the Baptist, Jesus' cousin, preached a radical message: confess sin, repent of sin, and be baptized.

I baptize with water those who repent of their sins and turn to God. But someone is coming soon who is greater than I am; so much greater that I'm not worthy even to be his slave and carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 3:11, NLT)

While John's baptism symbolized an outward commitment to repent and obey God, Jesus' baptism empowers His followers with the presence of God.

What is the Holy Spirit?

Many books have been written about what the Bible teaches regarding the Holy Spirit. Consider my blog post the Cliff Notes version.

The Old Testament describes the Holy Spirit as a pouring out of God's spirit.

I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. (Joel 2:28, NLT)

When I was living my sinful life without Jesus, I didn't sense God's Spirit upon my life, which leads me to believe that "all people" doesn't include those who refuse to repent? The New Testament tells us plainly how to receive this gift.

Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38, NLT, emphasis added)

There's that word again: repent. Do you get the idea that repentance is a big deal to God? Therefore, it should be a big deal to us.

The Holy Spirit empowers us to live in a way that shows the world we follow Jesus.

Repentance: Is it a One and Done?

Is repentance only required at the onset of our new life in Christ? Or is repentance needed throughout our Christian walk?

What Does the Bible Say?

In First Corinthians, Paul scolded the Christians in Corinth for returning to the immoral ways of their culture. As a result, some repented of their sin and returned to following Jesus. In his second letter, Paul "rejoices . . . because [some] were grieved into repenting" (2 Corinthians 7:9, emphasis added).

In Revelation, John records Jesus' message to Christians.

Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. (Revelation 2:5a)

Clearly, repentance remains an important aspect of the Christian life because we still mess up. We still sin!

Le met be clear about what I'm NOT saying! Jesus does not require us to continually beg Him for salvation every time we mess up. The Bible teaches that once we place our faith in Jesus, we're saved from the penalty of sin. PERIOD!

If you confess . . . the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Romans 10:9-10, NKJV)

My Story

Recently the Holy Spirit poked my conscience concerning my own sin. I'll skip the details, but I confess that it involved my God-given role as a wife. Disclaimer: Adultery is NOT part of my story!

I asked God to transform my behavior and thinking regarding the issue in my marriage. In prayer, the Holy Spirit revealed that for transformation to happen, I needed to repent of sin. It seems repentance had fallen off my spiritual radar; I considered it a one and done so many years ago when I became a Christian.

Although I regularly confess sin (I mess up a lot), I was unintentional about my need for repentance.

Once I let the Holy Spirit's message sink in, repentance renewed my desire to obey Christ. I haven't achieved perfect wife status, but I'm becoming more like the wife that God wants for Dick Ewald.

What's Your Story?

Have you taken the first step of faith by repenting of your sins and turning to God (Acts 2:38)? Or have you walked the faith road for a while and find that it's time to "repent and do the things you did at first" (Revelation 2:5a)? Remember, we don't go it alone. John spoke the truth when he proclaimed that Jesus will "baptize with the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 3:11).

Do you have questions about the Christian life? Do you need prayer? I'd love to hear from you. Post your comment below or reach out to me through the Contact Page.

#repent #prepare #planning #baptize #HolySpirit #gift #followJesus

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Have you bought the box of chocolates for your Valentine yet? Or maybe you're anticipating a dazzling gift from that special someone in celebration of this annual romantic holiday.

On the other hand, maybe you're wishing that all the hearts and commercialism will just go away because there is no one special in your life.

While Valentine's Day celebrations tend to focus on romantic love, it's a good time to celebrate love for our children, parents, and friends. And God. Join me in this year's celebration to discover the difference between real love and broken love.

God's Love Letter

The Bible is God's love letter to us. There are hundreds of verses to support this statement, however, that is material for a book, not a blog. Paul shows the difference between broken love and real love in 1 Corinthians 13; aka the love chapter.

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only . . . a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3, NIV)

The context of this passage reveals that Paul is criticizing the Christians in Corinth for desiring spiritual gifts while ignoring loving one another. Their desires where good, but without love there good works were meaningless.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. (13:4-6)

My Broken Love

I recently ran across a previous journal entry of this scripture in my journal Bible. The entry showed that I ran a love test to see if I was loving in a manner that honors God and blesses others.

To walk in the way of love:

  • I must be patient and kind.

  • I must not envy or boast.

  • I must not be rude or arrogant.

  • I must not be irritable or resentful. Bingo!

No, I didn't pass the test; my love was broken. I'm guilty of all the above to some degree, but irritability is my blatant crime against real love. My devoted hubby receives the brunt of this one. It was confession time.

Lord, I confess that I've been irritable. Help me to repent and walk in Your joy.

How would a love test impact your relationships? Your world? What would happen if we continually examined our words and actions to ensure that our love is not broken? I confess that I have not kept up on examining my heart, so let's do it together.

  1. Is our love tainted by impatience and unkindness?

  2. Are we envious of others? Do we overwhelm conversations bragging about our accomplishments, without showing interest in what's going on in the lives of others.

  3. Are we rude and arrogant?

  4. Are we irritable? Do we resent demands on our time, attention and/or energy? Ouch!

Perfect Love

None of us will love perfectly in this life because we're flawed humans. But God shows us what real love is because He is love (1 John 4:8). If you're looking for proof of God's outrageous love, look no further than His Son, Jesus.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son; that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16, emphasis added)

We're staring at the gospel truth here: Jesus gave His life so that we can be set free from the penalty of our sin. Then God's Son defeated sin and death through His resurrection. But the Good News doesn't stop there! We accept God's sacrificial gift by believing in Jesus; faith in Him opens the door to life that is both abundant and eternal.

That's not just real love, that's supernatural love. No other gift comes close to matching God's love.

Friends, we don't have to live with brokenness when we accept God's gift. May we focus on God's real love every day of the year.

Let's have a conversation. Post your comments below or through the contact page.

What is your favorite Valentine gift to receive: candy, flowers, jewelry, etc.?

How do you show real love to your family and friends? Maybe to a stranger?

How has this article challenged your thinking about love?

How can I pray for you?

#love #valentinesday #reallove #brokenlove #broken #Godslove

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