Ascension Sunday and Mother's Day. In this teaching, we will seek to answer the question: How has custody of your soul?

Mother’s Day 2018
Last Thursday was a big party day in the Church,  a major feast day, called the day of Ascension. Did you miss it? What a time we had; Feasting, fellowshipping, praying, singing, dancing all-night vigil, great time!

Ascension Thursday celebrates Jesus returning to eternity. Let’s read the account in scripture

Acts 1:4-11 (NIV)
 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.
For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."
So when they met together, they asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?"
He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

After he said this,  he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them.  "Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven."

Jesus taken up, is what the ascension is all about.

 A prayer used to commemorate the day:
O Christ God, You have ascended in Glory,
Granting joy to Your disciples by the promise of the Holy Spirit.
Through the blessing, they were assured
That You are the Son of God,
The Redeemer of the world!

It is plain from Scripture that Jesus' ascension was literal. He rose from the ground gradually and visibly, observed by many intent onlookers.

Two promises here. One that his followers would be empowered by the Holy Spirit.
This we will celebrate next Sunday, Pentecost Sunday. The second is that Jesus will return.
We refer to this as the second coming To which I say: “Come Lord Jesus. Help me hasten the day.”

 The Ascension of Jesus Christ is meaningful for several reasons:

1) It signaled the end of His earthly ministry.
God the Father had lovingly sent His Son into the world at Bethlehem, and now the Son was returning to the Father. The period of human limitation was at an end.

2) It signified success in His earthly work.
 All that He had come to do, He had accomplished.

3) It marked the return of His heavenly glory.
Jesus' glory had been veiled during His sojourn on earth, with one brief exception at the Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-9).

4) It symbolized His exaltation by the Father (Ephesians 1:20-23).
The One with whom the Father is well pleased (Matthew 17:5) was received up in honor and given a name above all names (Philippians 2:9).

5) It allowed Him to prepare a place for us (John 14:2).

6) It indicated the beginning of His new work as High Priest (Hebrews 4:14-16) and Mediator of the New Covenant (Hebrews 9:15).

7) It set the pattern for His return.
When Jesus comes to set up the Kingdom, He will return just as He left-literally, bodily, and visibly in the clouds (Acts 1:11Daniel 7:13-14Matthew 24:30Revelation 1:7).

Today is Ascension Sunday and it collides with Mother’s Day. There was only one Segway I could think of that could adequately tie the two celebrations together and that is to utilize the theme of thanksgiving. Thanksgiving to God for the promises and meaning of the ascensions and
Thanksgiving to God for moms. Thanksgiving for the fidelity of their custody of our souls.

 As we honor motherhood today, I want us to take a look inside and discover now as adults,
Who or what has custody of our soul?

 We give thanks to God for all the wonderful, grace-filled mothers who raise their children with faith, hope, and love. Mothers, every last person has one. So Mother's Day is really a holiday for everyone,
a day for thanking God for his creation of motherhood, and an occasion for letting that gratitude play itself out in tangible expressions of special honor.  As a token of that gratitude, we have a sweet treat for all the ladies here today. (distribute cake pops)

 Here’s a story while you receive a cake pop.

It seems a mama possum was trundling along with her babies clinging to her back when a hungry carpet python decided that her journey was just a “moveable feast.” The python grabbed one of the defenseless (and delectable) babies off of mama’s back, sure that it had snagged itself an easy meal.
Mom possum immediately went on the attack. Despite the fact that her baby was well and truly trussed up by the big snake, she went after the big snake without any hesitation. By biting, clawing, and wrestling, the mother possum somehow managed to get the snake to release its hold on its would-be meal and go to look for a less well-guarded dinner elsewhere. Mom and baby took off, both alive and well.

Why would momma possum do that?

It seems to me instinct would be to run from danger
not put yourself in harm’s way.

Can a possum love?
Love is seeking to meet the need of another at the cost of a personal sacrifice, or as I recently read meet the need regardless of your feelings. Definitely an illustration of love.

Good enough moms, I know your mom was practically perfect in most every way, but even good enough moms, have custody of your soul. Good enough moms are lovers.

Custody of a soul.
What an awesome responsibility. The good enough mom takes on that task without anyone telling her she should. It’s something she does. Instinct? A Choice? Maybe a little of one and a lot of the other?
Custody means guardianship, supervision, safekeeping, protection. In our culture when you reach the magic amount of years you are no longer considered in the custody of your parents. You are now responsible for yourself. At least that’s what it seems. I am the one who chooses, I am the one who sets the course, I am the one in charge. It’s my ingenuity, my resourcefulness, my passion that gets me what I want. No one is in charge of me. I am the custodian of my soul.

 But it seems to me, we always remain in the custody of someone or something. Someone or something that gives us guidance, safekeeping, protection, and care. Someone or something that helps us make sense of our world, the lifts us and gives us reason to live.

Who has custody of your soul?

Have you given custody of your soul to a sports figure, or a celebrity, or a musician, or a philosopher? How about to a spouse, your child? How about others, if you need their approval,
you’ve given them custody of your soul.

Does Wall Street or Madison Avenue have custody of your soul? Money gives you identity,
your job defines who you are guiding you into how to live your life.  Have you given affirmation and acclaim custody of your soul?

Do you find care and protection in a bottle, in gambling, in porn, in work? Do you have a memory of a mom’s kiss that could make any hurt endurable? Have you given pain relievers custody of your soul?

Does materialism have custody of your soul? Is your stuff the measure of your worth as a person?

It seems best to be in custody of someone who loves you. Someone who seeks to meet your need regardless of how they feel. Regardless of the personal cost, they have your best interest in mind.
They want to do what’s best for you and Encourage you to do what’s best for you. They don’t enslave, coerce, or guilt you into a course of action, rather they point out the best possible path and let you decide.

 If you acknowledge to God that you’ve given custody of your soul to the wrong things or wrong persons, then believe that Jesus is the only proper custodian of your soul and commit yourself to following Jesus you will find all the guardianship, supervision, safekeeping, protection you’ll need.  
You will discover that you can make sense out of your world, discovering meaning and purpose giving you a reason to live. You will realize that affirmation and acclaim and sense of identity you need to feel good and be the good person you want to be. All yours if you fire all the false custodians and ask Jesus to take the job.

Are you thankful for the custodians of your soul?
That good enough mom has provided an invaluable service to you while you were in her custody.
Give her the honor she deserves. Jesus has proven himself to be a worthy custodian of your soul.
Give Him the place of honor He deserves


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