He is Alive!

Today is the anniversary of a very bittersweet day. The  day our Lord and Savior was nailed to a Roman cross to bear the sins of all mankind. It was there that two other sinful men were being hung in the same manner as our Lord. That same day, one of those men defended Jesus to the other.

When Jesus finally died, He was placed in a tomb and remained there for three days. Then a miraculous thing happened. He rose!

It didn’t take long for the sacrificial lamb of God to shed the bondage of death. By so doing, he paid the price for your sins and mine to be forever pardoned. The only requirement is to accept and believe the gift that’s been offered.

One of the men who hung on a cross alongside of Jesus believed, and he is with the Lord even now. So it’s never too late to accept the gift of salvation that Jesus bore for all of us.

Remember, on Easter Sunday, we celebrate a RISEN Savior! We can rest assured that we will see Him again when He comes out of the clouds in His glory!

Do you believe?

Hosanna in the Highest

 This Sunday is Palm Sunday. The day when Christ made his triumphant entry into Jerusalem on a colt where the multitudes laid palm branches and declared, “Hosanna in the Highest!” (Matthew 21:1-11) just as O.T. scripture prophesied. The people buzzed with excitement at what Jesus would do regarding Rome’s tyranny and welcomed  him taking the throne. Only that didn’t happen. Jesus did not come to lead a revolution against oppressors—at least, not yet.  While the people wanted one thing, they received something else. Jesus was about to change things but it would encompass a broader schematic than merely for the then and now. The changes He made allowed a way for everything to be made right—a redemption and liberation exceeding our expectations.

Today, we have that same mindset as those at the original Palm Sunday in that sometimes we want God to act in a way contrary to His will. It is at these times when we should move beyond the here and now and set our sights in line with His perspective and not our own. When God does act, it’s always a far greater movement than what we can expect or even imagine.

 

The mighty oak

 The God of all creation spoke to Abram (later Abraham)  here at the tree of Moreh in a little place called Shechem back in the day. The take home message of this relationship for me is that when God made a covenant with him (that he would one day be a father to all nations–Father Abraham and that through his seed, many nations would be blessed), he had all of humanity in mind.

The journey began when Abram, at God’s leading and with a few historic sidesteps, ended up settling his tent in the land of Canaan between a city called Bethel (“house of God”) and the city of  Ai (“ruin”).

I see this journey as a prototype of a believer’s time here on the earth. Today, like Abraham, we are also journeying. Our world is the new Canaan and our walk with God finds us traveling here until the day the Lord returns or takes us to our real home. As sojourners, the Lord instructs in his word through the Apostle Paul, that we shouldn’t become too comfortable here in the new Canaan, because it’s really not our permanent home. But we do have a clear purpose:  to preach in love that God is real and to make Him known.

Along Abraham’s journey, we are reminded that he, like us, was not a perfect man. He made mistakes along the way that served him more trouble than necessary. However, the Lord used even those mistakes to bring about his purposes. Though there is plenty that Abraham did that showed his dependence and faithfulness to God and his journey allowed the Lord to bring him to this place, it was not an overnight experience. Neither is ours. It will take not only a lifetime but most likely an eternity to even mine the depths of all that the Lord has planned for those who love him.

One thing of particular note that speaks to me is that Abraham stopped at the oak tree of Moreh in Shechem.  It is at Moreh (meaning “teacher”) where God first appeared to Abraham and gave him the declaration of His promises. His oracles. Abraham lingered there and fellowshipped with God and erected the first of many alters to him.

The significance for this believer is that when Abraham stopped at the oak tree and rested is where God chose to reveal himself to Abraham. It is only by stopping and lingering with the Lord that we, too, will be able to abide in His grace.

May we not hasten past the oak tree of Moreh in our journey while here on earth so that we may hear His voice.

Explain thyself…

A recent online conversation with someone who doesn’t believe in God led to an amicable debate. The lady who says she doesn’t need a savior and is willing to stand or fall on her own saddens me. The reply she elicited from me was the following: To not acknowledge God and your place in the world by virtue of his creating you and to assume that you can do things without him is the epitome of self-righteous. You claim to be able to help people around you. How do you assume you are helping them? By what standard are you basing your goodness? If the answer is YOU, then I see that as being self-righteous.

When I acknowledge God, I use his standards, not mine. There is no putting down of other people.  We are ALL under God. We are ALL sinners. If you don’t think you are a sinner or one who needs God, it is you who is putting yourself ABOVE others… not to mention ignoring why Jesus came to earth in the first place. You’re calling him frivolous, unnecessary, just like the Pharisees did.

I’m sorry that people haven’t put their faith in the Messiah. He can run our lives “exceedingly above all that we can ask or think.” Praise God!

Immigrants

There have been Facebook memes going around every once in a while whose purpose is to point a finger at Christians for not having more compassion for the foreigners who wish to come to America.

While U.S. president after president has imposed limits on the import of immigrants for whatever plans and purposes he wishes, the quotas set forth lately have been met with opposition.

Some would cry, racist, bigot, hater… Really? Is this the motivation for the U.S. government… to be racist? I don’t think so.

These same individuals who have nothing better to do with their time than to denounce presidential mandates are the same ones who take a quote out of scripture and use it as a cudgel to beat Christians over the head (Leviticus 19:33-34). In this verse, Moses says to Israel that as they were once immigrants to a foreign land, in the same way, they are to love them and not mistreat them.

But some would use this one verse, taken out of context, to judge Christians. These no-pretext-no-context-loving gospel spewers think they can have an “ah hah” moment by the means of calling out Christians as being hypocritical.

What these people don’t take into account is that the foreigners Moses was referring to in Leviticus had to acquiesce to rules for being a part of the society and culture of the land into which they were going. They were made to conform to these as mandated and thus made to assimilate into the Jewish culture.

Ask Dearborn, Michigan how that assimilation is going here in America after the city has been mandated to import thousands of Muslims who adhere to Sharia law.

As a Christian, I am absolutely obliged to kindly treat ALL people with compassion. This has little or nothing to do with immigration and speaks to a bigger political picture where scripture is being used as a weapon to meet a cultural end.