Easter Story

Not a lot of time for a blog being this close to Easter.  But I have enough time to share on of my favorite Easter stories as told by Charles Swindoll:

Edith Burns was a wonderful Christian who lived in San Antonio, Texas.  She was the patient of a doctor named Will
Phillips, a gentle physician who saw patients as people.  His favorite patient was Edith Burns.  One morning Dr. Phillips went to his office with a heavy heart, however, and it was because of Edith Burns.  When he walked into the waiting room, there sat Edith with her big black Bible in her lap, earnestly talking to a young mother sitting beside her.

Edith Burns had a habit of introducing herself in this way:  “Hello, my name is Edith Burns.  Do you believe in
Easter?”  Then she would explain the meaning of Easter, and many times people would be saved.

Dr. Phillips walked into his office area and said good morning to this office nurse, Beverly.  Beverly had first met Edith when she was taking her blood pressure.  Edith said to her, “Hello, my name is Edith Burns.  Do you believe in Easter?”

Beverly said, “Why, yes I do.”

“Well, what do you believe about Easter?”

“Well,” said Beverly, “it’s all about egg hunts, going to church, and dressing up.”

Edith kept pressing Beverly about the real meaning of Easter, and finally led the nurse to a saving knowledge of
Jesus Christ.

That morning, Dr. Phillips said, “Beverly, don’t call Edith into the office quite yet.  I believe there’s another delivery taking place in the waiting room.”

After being called to the doctor’s office, Edith sat down, and when she took a look at the doctor, she said, “Dr. Will, why are you so sad?  Are you reading your Bible?  Are you praying?”

Dr. Phillips said gently, “Edith, I’m the doctor and you’re the patient.”  And then with a heavy heart he said, “Your lab report came back, and it reveals you have cancer, and Edith, you’re not going to live very much longer.”

“Why, Dr. Phillips,” said Edith, “shame on you!  Why are you so sad?  Do you think God makes mistakes?  You have just told me I’m going to see my precious Jesus, my husband, and many of my friends.  You have just told me that I am going to celebrate Easter forever.  And here you are having difficulty giving me my ticket!”

Dr. Phillips thought to himself, What a magnificent woman this Edit Burns is.  Within a few weeks, Edith had reached
a point in her illness where she needed to be hospitalized.  “Dr. Will, I’m very near home now,” she said, “so would you make sure that they put women in the room with me who need to know about Easter?”

Well, they did just that, and one patient after another shared the room with Edith.  Many of them gave their hearts to
Christ.  Everybody on that floor, from staff to patients, were so excited about Edith that they started calling her Edith Easter – that is, everybody except Phyllis Cross, the head nurse on the floor.

Phyllis made it plain that she wanted nothing to do with Edith because, “She is a religious nut.”  Phyllis had been a nurse in an army hospital; she’d seen and heard it all.  She was the original G.I. Jane.  She had been married three times.  She was hard , cold, and did everything by the book.

One morning the two nurses who were to attend to Edith were sick.  Edith had gotten the flu, so Phyllis Cross had to go in and give her a shot.  When she walked in, Edith had a big smile on her face as she said, “Phyllis, God loves you, and I love you, too.  I’ve been praying for you.”  The head nurse frowned.  “Well, you can quit praying for me.  It won’t work.  I’m not interested.”

“Well, I will pray,” responded Edith, “and I have asked God not to let me go home until you come into his family.”

“Then you will never die,” snapped Phyllis, “because that will never happen,” and she curtly marched out of the
room.  Every day when Phyllis Cross walked into the room, Edith would smile and say, “God loves you, Phyllis, and I love
you too… and I’m still praying for you.”
Finally, one day, Nurse Cross found herself being literally drawn to Edith’s room like a magnet would draw iron.
She sat down on the side of the bed and Edith said, “I’m so glad you have come, because God told me that today is your special day.”

“Edith, you have asked everybody here the question, ‘Do you believe in Easter?’ but you’ve never asked me,” said
Phyllis.

“I wanted to many times, but God told me to wait until you asked, and now that you have asked…” And then Edith took
her Bible and shared with Phyllis Cross the Easter story of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Then Edith said, “Phyllis, do you believe in Easter?  Do you believe that Jesus Christ is alive and that He wants to live in your heart?”   “Oh, I want to believe that with all of my heart,” said Phyllis.  “And I do want Jesus in my life.”  And right then and there Phyllis prayed and invited Jesus Christ into her heart.

For the first time Head Nurse Phyllis Cross did not march out of the hospital room, she was carried out as if on the
wings of angels.  Two days later Edith said to Phyllis, “Do you know what day it is?”  “Why yes, it’s Good Friday.”

“Oh, no,” said Edith.  “For you every day is Easter.  Happy Easter, Phyllis!”

Two days later, on Easter Sunday morning, Phyllis stopped at the hospital flower shop before she went to her
desk.  She wanted to take a bouquet of Easter lilies up to Edith and wish her a happy Easter.

When Phyllis walked into Edith’s room, Edith was lying still in her bed.  Her big black Bible was open on her lap and her hands were on her Bible.  She had a sweet smile on her face.   When Phyllis reached over to pick up Edith’s hand, she realized Edith was gone.  Her left hand rested on John 14:2-3:  “In my Father’s house are many mansions:  if it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”

Her right hand was on Revelation 21:4:  “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain:  for the former things are passed away.”:  Phyllis Cross took one look at that dead body, then lifted her face toward heaven, and, with tears streaming down her cheeks, said, “Happy Easter, Edith. Happy Easter!”

Then Phyllis left Edith’s body, walked quietly out of the room and over to a table where two student nurses were
sitting.  She smiled and said, “Hello, my name is Phyllis Cross.  Do you believe in Easter?”   –  Charles Swindoll (The Darkness and the Dawn, pp. 334-337)

Happy Easter Everyone!

He is Risen!  He is Risen Indeed!

Something to Boast About

Galatians 6:11-18

There is something about guys and boasting?  Someone has a new car… we have one that’s better.  Someone has the latest gadget… we’ve got it with the more up to date accessories.   I remember years ago when I got my first IPOD.  I wasn’t anything close to an early adopter, but I was excited with my new toy.  I was showing it to my good friend, Dave Brandt.  And for the first and only time… it messed up.  It jammed.  I had told him about all the great features it had.  All I could get it into was paper weight mode.

He said: “That’s what you get for bragging about it!”  He then told me about his first car.  He was so proud of it.  Showing it to his buddies, he pushed in a cassette and said, “And guys, the best part of the car is the sound system.”  The cassette deck promptly ate his cassette.  That’s the problem with boasting.  What do we have down here that we can brag about?    We rave about a restaurant and then take friends there and get horrible service.   We can’t stop talking about a brand new show, only to find it canceled due to low ratings.   Things in this world let you down.

Paul gives us “something to brag about” in the last chapter of Galatians.  He states:  “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”  While the false teachers were boasting in their success at drawing new disciples to themselves… Paul simply points to the Cross.  You want to boast in something… boast in the fact of what God in Christ has done for you.

As Eugene Peterson put it:  “We can’t save ourselves by pulling on our bootstraps, even when the bootstraps are made of the finest religious leather.” (Eugene Peterson, Leadership, Vol. 4, no. 3.)   It is ironic but the only thing we can truly boast about is something that had to be done for us.  And our bragging rights to Jesus ought to eclipse anything else in our lives.

Ephesians 2:8-9 – For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– [9] not by works, so that no one can boast.

Never in a Hurry

Mark 5:21-43

I’ve heard someone say that he had never seen God to show up late… he also never saw Him show up early either.  It is always in His timing.

I am reading through Timothy Keller’s new book, King’s Cross, and liked his treatment of Jairus’ story.  He allows you to feel the emotion of this powerful man… forced by desperation to fall at the feet of a local faith healer.  Jesus in compassion agrees to go with him and then stops to help another woman.

Keller writes:  “Imagine Jairus’ anxiety during all of this; the disciples’ irritation; Jesus’ patience and composure.  This woman with a chronic condition is getting attention instead of the little girl who has an acute condition. … It’s malpractice.  If these two were in the same emergency room, any doctor who treated the woman first and let the little girl die would be sued.  And Jesus is behaving like such a reckless doctor.  Jairus and the disciples must be thinking, “What are you doing?  Don’t you understand the situation?  Hurry, or it will be too late.”

It turns out that it was too late.  The little girl had already passed before Jesus could even begin the journey to her home.  But Jesus looks at Jairus and says calmly:  “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

Keller writes:  “In essence, Jesus says to Jairus, Trust me.  Be patient.  There’s no need to hurry. … God’s sense of timing will confound ours… His grace rarely operates according to our schedule.”

In the end, Jesus woke the sleeping child… proving His power over death.  Jairus got more than he bargained for.  He wanted a healing and got instead a resurrection.

In our world today it is hard to stay calm when everything is moving so fast… and we fear if God doesn’t act quickly we are done for.  A good word for us today comes from the lips of Jesus:  Don’t be afraid; just believe.

Check out Keller’s book… a great read for the Easter season.