The End of the Beginning

By Marilyn Schouten

My devotional this week are these story lyrics from David Phelps (world famous tenor) "End of the Beginning" You can YOUTUBE it....if you would like to hear the music.

"I was taking a trip on a plane the other day, just wishin' that I could get out. When the man next to me saw the book in my hand and asked me what it was about. So I settled back in my seat,
"A best-seller," I said, a "hist'ry and myst'ry in one." Then I opened up the book and began to read from Matthew, Mark, Luke and John....

Chorus: He was born of a virgin one holy night in the little town of Bethlehem. Angels gathered 'round Him underneath the stars singing praises to the great I AM. He walked on the water, healed the lame, and made the blind to see. And for the first time here on earth we learned that God could be a friend. And though He never, ever did a single thing wrong, the angry crowd chose Him. And then He walked down the road and died on the cross and that was the end....of the beginning."

"That's not a new book, that's a Bible," he said, "And I've heard it all before. I've tried religion, it's shame and guilt, and I don't need it anymore. It's superstition, made up tales, just to help the weak to survive." "Let's read it again," I said, "But listen closely, this is gonna change your life."  Chorus again

"The end of the beginning?" he said with a smile. "What more could there be? He's dead. You said they hung Him, put nails in His hands and a crown of thorns on his head." I said, "I'll read it again, but this time there's more. And I believe that this is is true: His death wasn't the end but the beginning of life that's completed in you. Don't you see....He did all this for you...."

"He was born of a virgin one Holy night in the little town of Bethlehem. Angels gathered 'round Him underneath the stars singing praises to the great I AM. He walked on the water, healed the lame, and made the blind to see. And for the first time here on earth we learned that God could be a friend. And though He never, ever did a single thing wrong, the angry crowd chose Him. 
And then He walked down the road died on the cross and that was the end....of the beginning.  But three days later, three days later three days later....He rose!!! He rose, three days later, He rose! You see, He came, He lived and He died but that was the end......of the beginning!"

From Marilyn: I love that song for the total synopsis of the Gospel; the 1 minute story that gives us our faith...in a nutshell. I am happy to say that I've known this story since I was a child and I am thankful that my children and their children also know this Good News story of redemption. I trust you too are giving that eternal heritage to your family.

You know when you read a story to a toddler, it matters not how many times you read that story and look at those pictures....they still ask you to read the story book again and again. It's always new and exciting and don't you know when you try to skip a page or section, they will correct you and say, "you skipped a page." 

While sitting in the service this past weekend at VGF, and listening to the sermon about incorporating the truth of God, the ongoing revelation and the precision of that truth...it made me reflect on the approaching weekend, the celebration of life services...EASTER! Like Christmas, Easter is the second most attended church service in a calendar year. Not unlike the toddlers, we have heard the stories of the Virgin birth and the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus over and over again, and to those that are seeking the "precision" of the truth, they are just as fresh as hearing them the first time. And please do not skip any part of the message for we completely know the story....right!?  

Are we as prepared to tell others the story? Are you able to show the person sitting next to you in the plane, or the bus, or the the restaurant the story of Jesus? If not, maybe during this season of resurrection reflection, take a review for yourself. Ask the Lord for a clear mind to see afresh the purity of His suffering, the depth of His plan and the power of His resurrection. I've always stressed to look for those "divine moments," those moments when God puts in your path that random person or people that need a fresh look at the Good News that provides you with such joy. Your life and my life are open books when it comes to being disciples of Christ, we should look like Him, we should be doing the work that He started, we should be teaching those we love, and it should be understood that people will most definitely ask us..." why are you so peaceful in such trying times or to what do you attribute your joy?

Take a review this week, Holy Week and spend time talking to your children and families about this eternal path we tread. Come to the Open House Communion on Thursday and share in the
Lord's supper, hear about the "test for faith" in the Good Friday teaching and for sure take a minute to invite a friend to one of the 5 Easter services at either VGF or if you are reading this Monday Thoughts from out of state or attend another church, invite and attend at your place of worship.

Remember: He walked down the road died on the cross and that was the end....of the beginning.  But three days later, three days later three days later....He rose!!! He rose, three days later, He rose! You see, He came, He lived and He died but that was the end......of the beginning!"