73. One day to another – no greater contrast ever.

I grew up with Good Friday. I cannot remember all of them well, but I know they were there. For a period of at least twenty five years, Easter weekend was engulfed in a church tradition called camp meeting time – a period of ten days every year when going to church and socializing with people from church were the main activities. We drove a few kilometers outside Johannesburg, South Africa to a huge piece of land where people from all over the country came to pitch a tent or park a caravan. There were also huts and wooden structures erected specially for this time of year.

Later during high school years and university, I studied through many Easter weekends, but even then I would not miss the “big” services – Good Friday morning and the celebration of the resurrection on the Sunday after. Camp meeting services were conducted in a rough and cold brick building with a corrugated iron roof. This structure could seat quite a few thousand people with a platform for an extensive band and the church leadership. The singing was heavenly and after camp meeting time, everybody went home with new songs on their lips, but more important, in their hearts.

Many testimonies of miracles were associated with this building. For most of the services the people were invited to write their prayer requests on pieces of paper. These little papers were then assembled in front and prayed over with the church leaders stretching out their hands over them. My mother once “saw” in the Spirit how one of the corrugated iron sections of the roof “opened” and the prayer requests were “flying” out as if a gushing wind were gathering them up to heaven. She knew they were all safely in the Hands of our loving heavenly Father.

My two elder boys still experienced camp meeting time. No one ever missed the last Sunday night “goodbye” service. April was usually rainy and cooler. We carried two heavy quilts into the service for them to sleep if the three hours got a bit long for them. Yes… three hours! We would sing for at least an hour, worshipping until the heavens opened in every heart and the intercessory prayer could start for a long line of needs.

My brother had a wooden structure put up, where we could meet after services and on camping chairs and picnic tables eat the most wonderful moveable feasts, carried in baskets and cooler bags from home kitchens. My boys called it: the Ark. On the last Sunday evening, we would choose one of the many church stalls baking “crepes”, which we called pancakes, but were more like the French crepes; the size of a dinner plate and wafer thin with cinnamon sugar and rolled. That would be the farewell-food, enjoyed while people came to say goodbye and sit a while for a testimony or two.

I will never forget the talk. People talked about God, all the time – freely, passionately and wholeheartedly. All ages, especially the veterans were walking worshipping testimonials to the goodness and provision of God.

Then there were the kids, joyfully bundled together in their own hall; the radiant Corner of Sunshine as it was called. A cousin of my dad was the leader and preacher and between him and his family they did the singing and the teaching. His messages were illustrated and fun; always making sure the children under 12 were learning about their good heavenly Dad, looking out for them faithfully. The farewell song of the Sunshine kids on the last Sunday night of the camp meeting, I sing to this day – the last verse of Psalm 23:

Surely goodness and mercy

Shall follow me

All the days, all the days of my life

And I shall dwell in the house of my Lord forever

And I shall sit at the table prepared for me

Surely goodness and mercy…

This past weekend was Easter and I am a million miles away in time and space from those years. Why do I remember?

I know why.

Many years later in adult life, I once attended a United Church Easter service in a town on the south coast of South Africa, called Hermanus. The reverent there was a well-known radio preacher, Martin Holt. I have always had a deep appreciation for Latin, which I learnt at school as well as university, partly since studying Law required knowledge of Latin. His sermon’s title was Vivit – the Latin for He Lives! He was so thrilled to bring this news to his congregation that his anointing rubbed off in this word that burnt itself into my mind.

I know why I remember that Easters of my past. No Easter, no church, no testimony, no prayer would be possible without the shout of the women that first Easter morning: Vivit – He lives!

This one fact changes everything. It is the contrast from a Saturday of darkness in death to the Sunday of light in life.

This week, is the week after the celebration of that day when Jesus said to Mary in the garden:

But go, tell His disciples—and Peter—that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.” (Mark 16:7)

Where are you these days after Easter? Are you caught in death and the darkness of the Saturday, just like Peter, feeling the failure of personal defeat and crushed dreams?

Jesus says to you, just as specially as he mentioned Peter, to go to the meeting place where you met Him the first time – your Galilee. He knew how utterly broken Peter was, after his betrayal and after the cruel crucifixion killing. He knew what effect His appearance will have on Peter.

He knows what you need, right now. He is waiting for you… He knows that your life will be changed when you see Him.

Go and shout it out – Vivit! – He lives … because He has risen from the dead.


19. Resurrection light on your path.

What you decide on will be done,

    and light will shine on your ways. [Job 22:28]

Easter is over. In North America, April is busy. It is the end of the academic year; exams and summer plans are priority. It was, after all, just the usual, annual celebration of the crucifixion.

Imagine for a moment how tense and excited the days after the resurrection have been to the followers of Jesus. Since that Sunday that Mary came running with the news, the story spread. The grave was investigated and found empty, the tongues were busy: analyzing, doubting, hoping, believing, remembering. Please read all 50 verses of the victorious Luke 24. In the 40 days before the ascension, Jesus appeared to His disciples three times. [John 21:14]

Mary stayed behind in the garden when the other disciples returned to the bolts and locks to keep them safe from suspected Roman retaliation. Her lingering there brings her in direct contact with the risen Christ and becomes her ultimate comfort. She will never doubt, she saw Him and spoke to Him. This is still today the core experience in our walk with Christ. No theology, no church, no argument will ever replace the personal and powerful encounter with the risen Jesus. Grief is relieved and fear flees in the Presence. Restoration is guaranteed.

John 20:19:

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”

He will find you, even behind your locked doors and bolted windows. You are His special possession. Isaiah 43:4:

Since you were precious in My sight, You have been honored, and I have loved you.

He did it for Thomas again, 8 days later, to give him the very same experience that the other disciples had, so that he will have peace in his heart. The darkest day on earth, marked in heaven, that created chaos in the hearts of Jesus’ followers, are lightened and enlightened by the presence of the risen Christ. Exactly in the same way, Jesus will appear within the walls of your doubt and fear and give you peace in your darkest days. The victory of the resurrection is yours. Jesus did not blame Thomas for his desire to make sure and to investigate. He invited him to touch His hands. The Bible does not say if Thomas actually did, but I think the presence of Jesus was so overwhelming and comforting, no further investigation was necessary.

The notes on the appearances of Jesus read like a suspense story. He appears and disappears. He walks with the two persons [Luke 24:13] to Emmaus and listens to their confusion and uncertainty. They were privileged to hear the utmost in theology ever, when Jesus explained Himself to them in the Scriptures. Even after this superior teaching, they did not know Him. Only when he was invited in and broke the bread in their midst, they recognized Him. Teaching and theology, church and worship will only bring you so far. It is only when you invite Him into your heart and sit down at the table to take the Bread (the Word) from His own hand, that you will recognize Him. Only after this encounter with the living Christ, theology makes sense.

Some time after the resurrection, the disciples made their way back to Galilee and went back to their old trade. They were busy with the nets and boats, fishing for a whole night and returning with empty nets. Jesus is on the beach with them, just like the days of their calling to follow Him, but they do not recognize Him. He asks if they have something to eat and they say they have nothing. He tells them to throw out the nets to the right of the boat. On His command they do it and haul out a huge catch, without tearing the nets. Something stirs in John and he recognizes the miracle and declares: It is the Lord. Peter jumps out of the boat and run through the shallow water to get to the beach quicker. Can you imagine that encounter?

After a lovely breakfast – oh, fresh fish on a fire on the beach – in conversation with their beloved friend in awe of His presence after His death and released of fear and doubt, Peter is forgiven and restored and receives His godly mission, to propel him into what he has never thought possible.

Acts the first chapter states the reality of the resurrection:


 to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.

This is the truth – grab hold of the truth so that it lives in your heart. These are the days before the ascension. The days of expectation are coming – the 10 days in the upper room waiting on the Holy Spirit. These are the days to lift up your eyes and bump up your expectation of what God can do in your life. It is time to prepare for the celebration of the first fruits.

It is the time for confusion and fear to make way for victory and faith. It is the time for new insight into your circumstances when the risen Christ will cause you to bring in the miracle catch with nets that do not tear.

On what is your eye fixed? On the current situation that drags along and negative talk to darken your vision.

It is time to submit to God’s miracle-working plan.

2 Corinthians 10: 4,5:

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…

Pray with me Psalm 121:1:

I lift up my eyes…

And how will we see? With the prayer of the blind man: Mark 10:51:

Rabbi, I want to see.”

In essence – open the eyes of my heart, Teacher. From Whom do we learn – from the words of the Son of the Living God. His words are Spirit and Life. [John 6:63]

Do you see the risen Christ? Do you experience the breakfast on the beach? Raise your expectation. This is not the time for doubt and fear.

Exodus 14:13:

And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today.

Deuteronomy 1:21:

Look, the Lord your God has set the land before you; go up and possess it, as the Lord God of your fathers has spoken to you; do not fear or be discouraged.’

The ability of man to be blind for the truth is mind-blowing and outright scary. The way you direct your sight is life giving or destructive. It is always your choice, even within the Kingdom. This is life’s challenge – do I react with the gifts and fruit of the Holy Spirit exalting God as my loving Father or do I react as my own god like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, relying on my own mind and reason to interpret my life?

Beloved of the Father, let the Holy Spirit dwell in you to convict your inner being of the truth, the life and the way to God. Let Him reveal your sin, let His blood cleanse you and buy the eye salve according to the counsel of Revelation 3:18:

I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

What is your alternative? To be found: wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. [Revelation 3:17]

Jesus talks about our eyesight in the strongest terms: Matthew 6:22,23:

The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light.  But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

Let us lift up our eye and make sure to see the risen Christ.

How wonderful to realize where God’s eye is:

Psalm 32:8:

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.

2 Chronicles 16:9:

For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth to show Himself strong in behalf of those whose hearts are blameless toward Him.

Praise God – His eye is on us.

Psalm 139:16:

Your eyes saw my unformed substance, and in Your book all the days of my life were written before ever they took shape…


Be greatly blessed with anointed eyes and clear insight