Posts Tagged ‘ Jesus ’

Singing in the Acid Rain

With a full year behind it, you know it is full of wisdom. So head on over to Proverbial Thought to partake of that and new wisdom commentary!

Imagine for a moment that you have an umbrella. Not just any umbrella, but a super-durable umbrella.

This is an umbrella that seems to defy physics. It is incredibly light yet is strong enough to take hail and fire and brimstone falling from the sky. It is no thicker nor less functional than your average umbrella; yet it will not crumble under said hail and brimstone, burn up in said fire, nor dissolve in a shower of acid rain.

Now imagine you live in a city that has constant acid rain showers. There is relative safety in most buildings, but if we are honest we know that buildings will not hold up indefinitely to acid rain.

Some buildings are in worse shape than others. People can not stay in them long without being in the same conditions as outside.

Now imagine that you actually live in a bunker under a mountain. You are pretty safe inside. It would take quite a while for acid rain and most other things to get in.

So what do you do?

Your Dad asks you and your siblings to go out and help those in the acid rain.

Some say to each other, “We are safe. Our Dad can welcome those people in if he wants to. We can stay and prepare for the great feast!” What they do not realize is that they will find themselves kicked out of their home just before the feast.

Some others grab their umbrellas and hurry outside. Seeing how dangerous it is, they run back inside and complain about how awful the world is outside, and they spend their time talking about how great things are since they are saved from the outside world.

Others say to each other, “We will be safe with our umbrellas. We can go outside and tell them how great it is inside!” They may see some people believe them, but while outside they complain about their lazy siblings and how horrible it is outside. This pushes many away, and some with umbrellas may find themselves joining their lazier siblings outside during the feast.

There are a few who take their umbrellas and hurry outside. Some walk around their neighborhood telling others about their safe home, bringing many inside and helping them get umbrellas of their own. Others run to the far ends of the city proclaiming the news of safety and peace. Some of these reach out from under their umbrellas, getting burned by the acid rain, just to get to some of those struggling through the acid rain. Some even brave the full onslaught of acid rain to allow others enough precious time under their umbrellas to get to safety, and they end up looking just as burned and messed up as those they saved.

At the end, most of those who remain for the feast look worn out, tattered, and disfigured from the acid rain.

Isn’t it a wonderful feeling? We’re stinging, again.

Maybe you have already caught on to the point.

One of my favorite passages comes from Jude, verses 22 and 23 (NIV):

Be merciful to those who doubt; save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.

In the above parable, the city is Earth, the home under the mountain is the Church, the umbrella is the Gospel, and the acid rain is the sin that soaks into every part of our lives and world. Obviously, then, the Dad is God. Those who reside within the mountain and go out into the city are Christians.

This past Sunday was the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Almost six weeks later, just before His ascension, He issued this commission:

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Matthew 28:18-20, NIV

We cannot reach out to people unless we go where they are.

We cannot rescue people if we do not get involved with their lives.

We cannot teach them if we do not do as we were instructed: to live like Jesus.

If Jesus, God made Man, came to our sin-soaked world, walked with us, suffered with us, even died with us, can we not suffer a little with our world to show them the resurrection power of Jesus?

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 02/24/2013

Go and read some wise words at Proverbial Thought!

This month of Weekend Words has had a focus on overcoming by the work accomplished through Jesus Christ for the glory of God. What better way to end the month than praising our Lord for His work!

Jesus is Lord   

Who has saved us?
By Whose Name are we redeemed?
It is the Lord!
Jesus the Christ, our King!
His life was perfect,
Fulfilling the Law and the Prophets,
All that was said
Including His horrible death.
But what came of it?
“Hosanna!” fulfilled in Him!
Forgiveness dished;
Salvation from a life of sin!
And hallelujah!
Three days later He is risen!
Our Lord conquered death!
He is alive and lives again!
Praise the Lord!
Through His death and Resurrection
We too have a hope
Of seeing Him Who is in Heaven!
Let us proclaim,
Run up and down the streets,
“Jesus is Lord!
He ever was and ever will be!
Bow down to the King!
Praise His Name forevermore!
Let all who do not know hear
Our Jesus is Lord!”

Another Adulterous Wife and the God Who Loves Her

Once again, I remind you to get some wisdom from those inspired by God’s wisdom over at Proverbial Thought.

There was a man who was called by God to speak out against the wrongs and injustices in his nation.

He spoke out against the nation turning away from God to follow its own lusts. He spoke out against the rising violence. He spoke out against the rise in crime. He spoke out against the rise of disrespect for parents. He spoke out against the lies of the government leaders as well as the religious leaders. He spoke out against the partnership of those leaders with different religions and hostile governments.

While this could be someone from any moment in the past fifty years in pretty much any part of the world, you probably already guessed that this person is in the Bible.

The First Adulterous Wife

Hosea was told by God to take a wife who was little more than a prostitute. Even though Hosea and Gomer had three children together – a son, a daughter, and another son – Gomer began to live and sleep with another man.

When things began to go badly for Gomer and she found herself on the auction block as a slave, God told Hosea “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.” (Hosea 3:1) Hosea essentially paid his entire savings to buy his adulterous wife from prostitution and slavery.

The message was and is clear: Just like Gomer, Israel had sinned by turning from God to the false gods of other nations. They neglected their relationship with God, they neglected their children and parents, and they neglected common decency.

God’s punishment for these sins was exile. But God loves His people.

He brought the nation, at that time divided in two, back to the Promised Land as a united people.

Beyond that, and this is where the Christian Church comes in, God sent His own Son as payment for the sins of not only Israel but of the whole world! In essence, God sacrificed Himself in payment for the sin we are all guilty of committing: worshiping anything other than God!

Another Adulterous Wife

If only those who believe the truth of God sending Jesus Christ to die for our sins never strayed!

If you look around our world today, especially within the Western World of Europe and North America, there is much corruption.

Leave governments out of this. Except for the mini-nation of Vatican City, national governments are not of God. He may have established the governments of the world for this time (Romans 13:1), but they do not govern the matters of God. They govern the matters of people. (Regardless of what most of the world and the Conservative Right say of the United States of America, it is not a Christian nation.)

Read the newspapers and watch the news on TV. Hardly a week goes by without hearing of some sex scandal, controversy, or fraud from some church or denomination. Many congregations, leaders, and denominations choose to work more with governments and other religions than with other congregations, leaders, and denominations. Many compromise their beliefs to appease the masses, the government, other religions, or simply passing fads or ideas.

Looking around today seems to show a Church which has left its Groom (Christ) to have relations with those who do not believe in or even mock the God of the Universe.

God’s Love

Even with all of the sins the people within the Church of our Lord continue to commit, He still loves her.

His Bride continues to allow many sins to be committed in His name, but I think there are good reasons He has not brought the same judgment on the Church as He did on Israel.

For starters, His faithful are still loving the least of these and showing God’s love.

Among those who rob God are those who give more than their fair share.
Among those who compromise their bodies are those who remain chaste and pure.
Among those who compromise their beliefs are those who remain steadfast in faith.

Secondly, God holds back His wrath because of His promises.

He has promised that His wrath was poured out on His Son.
He has promised that His wrath is not for His faithful.
He has promised that He will wait until He separates His faithful from the world.

Lastly, God holds back His wrath because of His love.

If God is not willing that anyone should perish (2 Peter 3:9), would He not give us time to repent, to choose His love in our hearts?

Hear the Truth and Turn

We each, in our own time, sin against God, yet He so desires to be with us that He died on a cross for our forgiveness and waits to destroy the world until His proper time.

As Peter said:

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.

So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him.
2 Peter 3:10-15

Let us not worry about the sins going on around us in the name of the Lord. Instead, let us focus on our own relationship with God. In the process, God working in our lives will either cause guilt leading to repentance or guilt leading to further sin.

In any event, we are to remain pure to God to the glory of God.

Seeing Salvation

I consider this work a work in progress.

It can be considered a Christmas poem. It can be considered a piece on the Gospel. It can be considered a prophetic word.

In any event, it fits this week leading into Christmas, and it is a good reminder after the events in Connecticut and around the world this past week.

A couple of weeks ago, I shared some thoughts on the two people, Simeon and Anna the Prophetess, who were waiting for the Messiah and saw Him in their old age. My thoughts concluded (indeed, centered around) expecting the soon return of the Messiah Jesus.

The entire reason for Jesus Coming to Earth was to save us from our sins and bring us into a right relationship with God. His return will be to finish the entire process, by bringing the physical up to speed with the spiritual, and bringing about ultimate peace on Earth for ever and ever.

It was easy for Jesus’ followers to forget His promise of coming back to life, and their new-found hope was a very pleasant surprise later at the resurrection of Jesus.

Because of His resurrection, we are able to give all of our troubles to Him, and we must remind ourselves of His soon return.

Now, see if you can find where I share each of these in this poem:

Seeing Salvation

They waited for years,
worshiping God daily in prayer.
God ever feeling more near,
as they awaited His Answer.

As their twilight years waned,
dutifully keeping their stations,
in came a couple with a babe.
They knew they were seeing Salvation. (Luke 2:21-38)

They walked with Him for years,
gladly hearing what He taught.
Now they only had tears,
with their Lord dying on a cross.

As their hope began to wane,
the women came with a proclamation.
The Lord was alive again!
Their faith was restored at seeing Salvation. (Matthew 28:1-10, Luke 24:1-12)

We live for many years,
wandering all over this earth.
We have troubles and fears,
wondering if we have any worth.

As our strength begins to wane,
there is hope in each situation.
We must turn to the Lamb who was slain.
Our souls are renewed in seeing Salvation.

There are not too many years,
this world will soon be decimated.
For God-lovers are jeered,
while sin and pride are celebrated.

After His long-suffering has waned,
His wrath will pour out on the nations.
Yet we will be reborn in His Name,
when we finally are seeing Salvation. (Revelation)

We must remember that all people are seeking redemption.

Some seek it and must wait.

Some are swept up and almost miss it.

Some find it out of their pain.

All people one day will see the Redeemer bringing redemption to all of Creation.

At Christmas, we must remember that God loved us enough to save. He came to us, born as a baby. He lived a perfect life, and died as the only acceptable sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins. He seeks us out, and will one glorious day return to claim His redeemed and redeem all of Creation.

That is the true promise of Christmas. Peace on Earth will only come at the final consummation. When we pray for peace on Earth, we are asking for Jesus to come and save us all, people and Creation!

Seeing Stars

As usual, here is your friendly reminder to head over to Proverbial Thought for your daily dose of wisdom.

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”
Matthew 2:1-2

Last week I discussed expecting the coming Messiah. I am continuing this little series, not from the standpoint of believers, but from the perspective of “outsiders” to the faith.

Star-struck

Nobody is completely sure who they were, but the Magi were definitely by our modern definition astrologers (study the stars, planets, and other such heavenly bodies to better understand the present and future) and possibly Zoroastrians. This could make sense, as Zoroastrians, like the Jews, are monotheists (yes, they still exist), worshiping only one god. In fact, they may be willing to accept that the Jews worship this god in their own fashion.

Regardless, they would have had reason to believe that this “king of the Jews” could indeed be Savior of the world, for Zoroastrians also believe one is coming.

While they were watching the stars, they saw this one star that, according to all of the various alignments and timing, meant someone in the area of Palestine of the Jewish people was being born as a king. This king was worthy of their worship.

Misguided

What is amazing is that foreigners knew the Jewish Messiah was coming.

How many in Israel knew?

Some were expecting, as discussed last week, but none knew until He was right in front of them or someone (such as angels?) told them.

How is it that the very people who should have seen the Savior of the world coming missed it, but outsiders recognized the times for what they were?

Part of it is that most of the Jews had an idea of what the Messiah should look like, and he was not exactly what they envisioned.

These Magi, however, were open to the fact that the Creator of everything could work however He wanted. They could see what most others could not, because they expected God to move in unusual ways.

Many Jewish leaders ended up getting hit over the head with their own sins and obtuseness. They had all the answers, but could not see the Rock of Truth flying straight at them.

Us

Would we have known Jesus was coming?

Are we paying attention to our times? Can we judge (with the help of the Holy Spirit, especially) whether Jesus may be coming soon?

Think on this (keeping in mind this is simply food for thought): If many religions and even atheists are expecting a highly probable (some would say definite) end to life as we know it, perhaps even to our planet, why is it so weird that some Christians expect the soon return of Christ to this world?

What are you looking at? What are you watching?

Or are you going to be surprised by God coming and ruining your plans?

Expecting the Messiah

I would like, firstly, to offer a reminder to check out Proverbial Thought. Wisdom is always helpful, and especially so during a busy holiday season!

Secondly, happy first week of Advent! Regardless of whether you practice celebrating Advent, we must always remember the importance of the coming of our Lord, which leads to the post:

On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived.

When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”), and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”

Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you now dismiss your servant in peace.
For my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the sight of all people,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel.”

The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.
Luke 2:21-38

I have fallen in with several different crowds in my life. Before this gets out of hand, I mean within Christianity. One of those crowds with which my history is long and varied is those expecting the soon return of Jesus Christ. I recently have been hearing people, due largely to last year’s predictions of the rapture and the coming of the “Mayan prediction” of December 21, 2012, being the end of the world (bunk), mocking people who expect His soon coming.

These people doing the mocking are mostly Christian.

Here is some food for thought about expecting Jesus:

Is it really so silly?

There was another time when many people were calling for the coming of the Savior, and many others mocked them. It was easy with so many other religions and pseudo-Saviors popping up to save the day … and failing. Some expecting the Messiah claimed God had revealed to them that His Messiah was coming soon. Others were astute enough from years of dedicated prayer and fasting to recognize what was going on around them.

And those few were right.

The story above relates how to elderly people were eagerly waiting for the coming Messiah. When others may have laughed, they knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that He was coming.

I am pretty sure, however, that few laughed. In fact, when we consider the thousands that later followed Jesus, there were many people who expected a Messiah. In this story, it says Anna “spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.” Do you realize that many of those who heard this may not have even been alive, let alone remembered this, by the time Jesus began His ministry 30 years later?!

Sometimes, God speaks through the craziest things

Many people today eagerly await the returning King of kings. This is good!

Sure, there are problems with some people claiming to know the date. Some people flat-out deny Christ’s return. Some people say it is not really that important.

Sometimes, we disregard a truth because of where it comes from.

Joseph and Mary easily could have disregarded what was being said about their infant son, but I am pretty sure their dreams and visions from only the previous six to nine months were vividly fresh in their minds. They were seeing an impossible baby being born to verify the visions and dreams! These prophecies were becoming run of the mill for them, by now!

Perhaps that is our problem.

How many Christians today regularly fast and pray? How often do you set aside time for seeking God through prayer and listening for Him?

Jesus could be coming this month (even as you read this). How could we know if we are not daily seeking time to talk with God. We do not believe in miracles or spiritual gifts, so why should we expect His return to be soon.

Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends!
Philippians 3:17-4:1

This Christmas, and always, expect the Messiah to return soon. He may not, but we should live as though He is coming tonight but may wait another thousand years. Of course, we must praise Him always!

Back from the Dead: Back from the Dead – A Repost

As I said last week, I am taking a break from the blog to recuperate from much school, work (at a school!), and ministry. Here is a reminder that there is great wisdom to be found at Proverbial Thought. The post for today comes from November 1, 2011. It seemed a good idea for the holidays celebrated this week!

Back from the Dead

Today is All Saints Day, Day of the Dead or Dia de los Muertos, All Hallows, or Hallowmas. No matter what it is called, today is a day that celebrates those who have come before and moved on to the next life. No matter the history of today and Halloween (All Hallows Eve, the day before All Hallows/Hallowmas … think what Christmas Eve is to Christmas), there is a rich history all over the world of honoring or venerating the dead.

I will not get into whether or not it is okay or even good to do such things or celebrate holidays here. That is for later.

I want to discuss death.

The picture I have above is from the website zombiejesus.com, and it is definitely satirical but not theologically sound. They quote two verses from the Bible:

1) He came back from the dead Acts 2:24 But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him

2) He encourages zombie like behavior John 6:53 Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have  no life in you”

As someone said elsewhere, “While precocious PKs (Pastor’s Kids) may try to pull off the Zombie Jesus costume, passionately asserting that Jesus did rise from the dead, a quick-witted parent will counter that He did NOT, however, rise from the UNdead.” The point: A zombie is the walking dead; Jesus defeated death. Zombies are in a state of perpetual death, never satisfied and never resting; Jesus was freed “from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him” and satisfies all our needs and gives us rest.

I have to point out that it should be “zombie-like,” with a hyphen. Other than nitpicking grammar, zombies do not drink blood. That is vampires. Therefore, they would have to include that Jesus is a Vampire. However, they are both undead creatures.

Ooh! There is a good point. These things are still creatures – CREATED THINGS! Jesus is not created, He is “begotten” or comes directly from God and IS GOD!

Moving on, I actually agree with this point for the humor-value (after fixing the small grammar issue), especially seeing as this very point is what kept many from becoming Christians in the first few centuries of the Church’s temporal existence. Though it is misguided, since we eat bread as Christ’s body and drink wine/juice/water as Christ’s blood.

Jesus is not a Zombie.

You might still here me (if you know me personally) occasionally refer to Christian Zombies, but it is slightly different (but only slightly).

Also, do not worship the dead or pray to them in the sense that you expect them to actually help you. They might hear you ask them to speak to God on your behalf, but if they do hear prayers (pray essentially means “ask”) I must confess to not thinking it matters much (sorry Catholic friends and family, but I have a point). We have a mediator: Jesus Christ. As I said above, He is God and is our connection to God through the Holy Spirit.