It’s Ascension Day – and we have much to celebrate!

Why you and I should celebrate Ascension Day. SmellingCoffee.com

Did you know that today is a special holiday?  We have something wonderful to celebrate today – the Ascension of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Personally, I hadn’t given this day much thought until the last few years.

We all know that Christmas is when we celebrate Jesus’ birth into this groaning world in desperate need of Salvation.  Then, there is Easter where we focus on the cross and the
reason Jesus Christ became a man.  {The Reason?  Jesus went to the cross on our behalf, so that we could live Loved, Redeemed, Forgiven, and Secured.  Making the life-changing decision to accept that Jesus Christ died for you, defeated death, and rose on the third day – That’s what it means to “be saved”… to be saved FROM sin, self, destruction, and eternal separation from God, who loves you so!… and to be saved TO a beautiful purpose, a clean slate, eternal security, and the sheer Peace and Joy that comes in not being the only one who cares about the details of your life. (Read this  if you want to know how to receive Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior.)}

We readily celebrate Christmas and Easter.  But there is another day that should mean a great deal to those of us who belong to Jesus Christ.  It is the 40th day after Easter… the day that  Jesus ascended into Heaven.  In fact, I’m realizing that the way I celebrate Easter should actually continue until this day.   Why?  Because the life I’m living would be without purpose and hope if it hadn’t been for what Jesus did on the Cross.

It’s what we celebrate during Easter that is life-altering for those who believe.  Yet, we tend to quickly dismiss this “Easter” celebration so shortly afterward.  I’ve been guilty of this for most of my life.  But not this year.

After reading Barbara Rainey’s blog post, Why I like Easter better than ChristmasI realized how important it is to continue to bask in the miraculous joy that is ours because of the victory Jesus took over death.  I still have our “Rejoice” banner hanging from the fire place, and the decorative eggs are still in their baskets around my home.  Every time I see them I am reminded that 1) Jesus is alive and victorious over sin and death! and 2) Because of Jesus’ victory and the fact that He is now living within me, I, too, can be victorious over sin and it’s decaying effects in my life and relationships.  Praise the Lord!

The Bible tells us that after the resurrection, Jesus spent an additional 40 days on this earth preparing His followers for their future, both on this globe and in Heaven.

During the forty days after he suffered and died, he (Jesus) appeared to the apostles from time to time, and he proved to them in many ways that he was actually alive. And he talked to them about the Kingdom of God.”Acts 1:3

Acts 1 continues to tell us:

Once when he was eating with them, he commanded them, “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before. John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”  Acts 1:4-5

 

But the disciples were still focused on earthly kingdoms.  (Oh… aren’t we SO like them???)

So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, “Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?”  Acts 1:6

And on this day, for one last time, Jesus patiently reminded his followers not to worry so much about the temporal things of life.  God had those things covered. (See Matthew 6:25-34)  Instead, on this day He issued them a greater purpose and focus – a call to do Kingdom work – to be his witnesses, even in difficult and unfamiliar places that might take them all the way to the ends of the earth.

He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  Acts 1:7-8

Then this happened:

After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him.  Acts 1:9

Can you imagine what these Christ-followers were thinking?  Were they standing there dumb-founded?  I would have been.  So God, in His grace and understanding of the human heart, sent another blessed assurance to them:

10 As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them.11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!”  Acts 1:10-11 (NLT)

On the 40th day after Easter, Jesus returned to Heaven to take His rightful place as King (Rev. 19:6) over Heaven and Earth.  And all who live through Him from that day on are awaiting His glorious return.

Actually, Jesus had spoken about this ascension to His followers many times before, but they just didn’t “get it” yet.

In John 16:28 Jesus said, “I came from the Father into the world, but I am leaving the world and returning to the Father.”

But the Christ-followers of that day were focused on what they could see right in front of them, wanting Jesus to solve their immediate problems with their earthly enemies.  (Is anyone besides me relating to this today?)  By the grace of God, Jesus had a greater plan.

In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if not, I would have told you. I am going away to prepare a place for you.  John 14:2

In John 17:7 Jesus also said,

 But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away;
for if I do not go away, the Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby) will not come to you;
but if I go, I will send Him (the Holy Spirit) to you
[to be in close fellowship with you].

John 16:7  (AMP)

 

 

So… WHY should we celebrate on this Ascension Day?

Because Jesus is victoriously seated on His Throne, we enjoy these privileges while living on this earth.

 

  1.  We have someone praying for us.  Always.  Even if we think no one else ever prays for us, Jesus is doing so right now.  What a blessing!!!  What a gift!!!
    Therefore He is able also to save to the uttermost (completely, perfectly, finally, and for all time and eternity) those who come to God through Him, since He is always living to make petition to God and intercede with Him and intervene for them.  Hebrews 7:25 (AMPC)
     {emphasis, mine}
  2. We have the presence of the Holy Spirit living within us, comforting, guiding, reminding, and convicting us.  We aren’t alone!


    26 
    But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you.

    27 Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]  John 14:26-27 (AMPC)

  3. We have the promise that this world is not all there is to life.  Jesus is preparing a place for us in Heaven with Him… and those to whom Christ is Lord will live with Him forever!

    Jesus said to his disciples, “Don’t be worried! Have faith in God and have faith in me. 
    There are many rooms in my Father’s house. I wouldn’t tell you this, unless it was true. I am going there to prepare a place for each of you. After I have done this, I will come back and take you with me. Then we will be together.  John 14:1-3 (CEV)

 

HOW can we celebrate on Ascension Day?

Barbara Rainey offers these 5 ideas for children and family celebrations on her blog, EverThineHome.  

For me, I want to spend this day thanking Jesus for His life, for humbling Himself to become a man, for loving me enough to die in my place, and for making a way for me to live eternally in Heaven.  (Philippians 2: 5-11 and John 3:16-17)

Also, I am recommitting the focus of my life to be about God’s Kingdom… I want to embrace a Kingdom mindset while living as a stranger and alien among this planet. (1 Peter 1:1-3)  I am continuing to learn that

In the Kingdom of God
{Which is from now on to be my
frame of reference for the world in which I live}
JOB  STATUS  DOESN’T  EXIST.

God has given each of us
GIFTS, TALENTS, SKILLS, JOBS
PASSIONS, EXPERIENCES, & OPPORTUNITIES
that are unique to us –
SO THAT WE WILL
Steward them well
as we Serve Jesus Christ
and Influence the world around us.

My “JOB” is to remain humble, available, obedient, and praying
while I steward well the present place God has me –
with confidence in NOTHING BUT GOD AND HIS KINGDOM.

“Living faithfully is a large enough task for today.”
Mathew 6:34 (VOICE)

 

 

This year it will be one of those quiet celebrations of the heart – with gratitude and renewed joy in the life God has called me to live right where He has placed me for such a time as this.  (Acts 17:25-28 and Esther 4:14)

How about you?  Will you join me in the celebration of the life you have in Jesus because He is reigning eternally in Heaven?

30 There are also many other signs (attesting miracles) that Jesus performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book;31 but these have been written so that you may believe [with a deep, abiding trust] that Jesus is the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed), the Son of God; and that by believing [and trusting in and relying on Him] you may have life in His name.  John 20:30-31

 

I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.”  John 16:33 (MSG)


After the Lord Jesus had charged the disciples in this way, He was taken up into heaven and seated at the right hand of God.  
Mark 16:19

With deep joy and gratitude, Happy Ascension Day, my friends!
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About SmellingCoffee

I'm a Jesus-loving, husband-loving, family-loving minister's wife and mom to two college kids, making our home and serving our Lord in the Mississippi Delta. I study, teach, speak, and write for the greatest Boss in the universe. "Faith, Family, Food, Fun, and Living Life brewed in the fragrance of the knowledge of Jesus Christ in every place": That's what you'll find at SmellingCoffee.com

Comments

  1. If I get enough time to explain myself, I need to message you about “where” I am spiritually in regards to things like “Kingdom work,” things that are temporal and eternal…gifts that I have been hesitant to use because as good as they are, I know others are better, and I’ve let Satan use that to cripple me, to silence me, and cast fear. But this message today, it just made that final switch go off. I’m sinning to ignore or stifle what He has given to me to use. I pray His forgiveness over that, of course. Anyway, know your words did not fall on deaf ears today, and you are being used of God when you cannot possibly know that you are!! Thanks, Jenn! ❤️

    • Oh Julie, thank you for sharing this!! I put it out there as an offering to the Lord, and since I haven’t written in so long, I had no idea if anyone would even read it. I’m so thankful that God used it in your life and walk! He has gifted you greatly, and I look forward to seeing what He does through you for His Kingdom glory!! Love you! ❤️