Carried By Christ

O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether. Psalm 139:1-4

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Serving The Lord and Reading The Gospel

Warren W. Wiersbe in Chapter five of the book, What to Wear to the War, says this: When it comes to serving the Lord, we should always be on the move and making progress. However, when it comes to the Gospel, we need to be unmovable and inflexible. We need to stand firmly on the unchanging Gospel, for it needs no improvement.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Message of Easter

Happy Easter.

Interestingly, after seeing the cover of Newsweek proclaiming this is no longer a Christian nation, I read an article in my local newspaper today that said two-thirds of Americans are planning on attending church services this Easter. That’s a lot of people who are basically supposed to be abandoning Christianity, if you believe Newsweek.

Easter is one of those holidays that everyone enjoys. The kids love the egg hunts and candy, but Easter is not necessarily about bunnies or colored eggs. Easter is about the Resurrection of Jesus. Specifically, the holiday is about Jesus being crucified and risen again from the dead.

I realize that in these troubled times it is sometimes difficult to keep our eyes on the Lord. Easter, however, is one of those days out of the year that many folks who would not normally look to Christ decide to come to church and worship Him. Some folks are full of faith, and are regular attenders, and that is great as well. But for everyone, Easter is an opportunity to remember His sacrifice.

Today I am looking forward to joining my family and friends in celebration of the gift the Lord has given us. Afterward, we are going to congregate at my mom's house for a special meal, and an opportunity to spend time with some members of my family that I don't get to see very often.

For some folks, Easter may be a very different story for them. Easter might simply be a reminder, like Christmas, of someone who is no longer with them. And with every year that passes, these lost loved ones are remembered and missed. So, for some, because of this, Easter can be a bittersweet day.

Death can seem cruel and harsh. And to be honest, I believe that is exactly how the disciples felt when they saw the beaten, bloodied body of Jesus hanging on a Roman cross on Calvary. Jesus had been betrayed by one of their own, Peter had denied Him three times, and then, in addition to the crucifixion, a Roman soldier thrust his spear into Jesus Christ’s side, and out of it came blood and water.

When the beating heart of Jesus Christ ceased its activity the disciples felt it was over. They assumed that death was the end of Christ.

Imagine the surprise of the disciples when they found an angel waiting for them with good news. The angel said, "Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him." (Mark 16:6 NKJV).

They thought He was dead, yet this angel had proclaimed He Lived.

Jesus Christ's death and resurrection means that we as believers do not have to be afraid of death. It can be hard for us to accept that our bodies are wearing out, and that death is on the horizon. However, the Bible says we will have new bodies one day. "And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body." (Romans 8:23 KJV).

You see, our bodies are not who we are. They are simply rotting shells. The real me is my soul, my spirit. Our bodies will eventually give up and die, but my soul will live on.

He is the resurrection and the life, and if we believe in Him, though we were dead, yet shall we live.

Happy Easter, and God Bless.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Easter Was No Accident

I remember watching a short film called The Bridge about a man that sacrificed his son in order to save many lives. He loved his son very much.

One day, he took his son to his job where the man was a bridge operator over a river. The bridge had a train track that ran over it, and it was the man's job to raise and lower the bridge whenever a ship came along the river that had high stacks and would be unable to sail under the clearance of the bridge. The son, at one point in the video, becomes trapped in the gears of the equipment as a train approaches, and the bridge is up. The man must make a decision. If he leaves the bridge up, his son survives, but the passengers on the oncoming train will all surely die. If he lowers the bridge, the people on the train will live, but his son will die a gruesome death.

Max Lucado refers to this tale in his book, God Came Near. He reminds us that though the tale is powerful, and a touching parallel to the sacrifice our Lord made for us when He was crucified on The Cross, there is a major difference between the two stories. The tale about the bridgemaster tells of events that occur that forces the man to make a terrible decision when faced with a horrible dilemma. The Bridge tells of an unfortunate accident that forced the man into making the difficult decision of pulling the lever, lowering the bridge, and allowing his son to die so that the many people aboard the oncoming train may live.

As did the man in the tale, God the Father twisted in grief as Jesus Christ was sacrificed on that cross on Calvary. All of the sinners of the world were given a gift through this sacrifice, though most of them didn't even realize it was happening as it occurred, nor are willing to accept it to this day. But the death of Jesus of Nazareth was no accident. God was not suddenly faced with a horrible decision, and had to pull a lever. The crucifixion was in accordance to God's plan. The cross was no accident. The moment Adam and Even used their gift of free will to become disobedient to God the wheels were set in motion. Our Lord intentionally planted the tree from which the cross would be carved. He willingly placed the iron ore in the ground from which the nails would be cast. He voluntarily placed Judas, who would betray Jesus, in the womb of a woman. Pilate was assigned to Jerusalem, Calvary was thrust up from the earth, and the tomb was at the ready long before the crucifixion took place.

Jesus was born to die on that cross.

When Easter approaches, Christians begin to talk more and more about the resurrection, as well they should. It is this glorious event that confirms all that Jesus said and did while He walked the Earth. He is the only historical figure to conquer death, to rise from the tomb and walk among his followers again. Oh, what a glorious morning that must've been. But in the celebration of Easter, we often fail to remember the terrible events that led to His glorious triumph over death.

The birth, life and death of Jesus Christ was prophesied over 700 times in the Old Testament. From Genesis to Malachi, his birth, life, and death is provided to us in vivid detail. We celebrate his birth and resurrection with Christmas and Easter, as well we should. But why is it that often Christians want to avoid discussing the crucifixion?

Jesus was crucified, and without the horror of the crucifixion, the Resurrection would not have occurred. Jesus Christ suffered through agony and pain, suffering in ways that Mel Gibson's Movie "Passion of the Christ" could not even capture in its gruesome depiction of Jesus Christ's final twelve hours. The horror of His death was worse than what the movie depicted, or anything they could ever depict. The suffering was greater than any of us could ever understand. He bore the sins of the entire world, past, present, and future, at that moment in time, and the weight of all that sin was so tormenting to bear that He cried out in torturous suffering, "My God, My God, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me!"

On Easter, while you are singing during the church service, be uplifted, inspired, and remember that because He was victorious over death, we are saved. But while you are praising Him, also remember that there is no Easter Sunday without Good Friday. Worship Him, but spend time remembering what Jesus Christ experienced during those final hours before the spear was thrust into his side, and His human heart stopped beating.

The betrayal, the cries by the crowd to "Crucify Him!", the beating He received under the orders of Pilate that was so horrid that his inner organs could be seen through the openings of His flesh, the ropes that bound Him as He was led to the cross, the nails that were driven into His hands, the very existence of the soldiers that ensured He was dead on the cross, nor the tears shed by His followers - though each an important and integral part of the story of Christ - were not necessary. They were not necessary because Christ needed not be betrayed, He would have surrendered Himself if need be. He would have driven the nails into His own hands, if need be. He would have died the horrible death, no matter how the events that led to it transpired. He would have sacrificed Himself anyway. It was an act of Grace. A devoted plan of redemption set in motion thousands of years before. The Crucifixion, His lifeless body in The Tomb, and His glorious Resurrection on Easter was no accident. It was a plan set in motion from the beginning so that anyone that so believeth in Him may have salvation.

Pure Love. Pure Devotion. A Pure Lamb for Man's Transgressions.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Is the Lord Trying To Tell Us Something?

Ecclesiastes 10:2 (King James Version)

2 A wise man's heart is at his right hand; but a fool's heart at his left.

Ecclesiastes 10:2 (New Living Translation)

2 A wise person chooses the right road;
a fool takes the wrong one.

Ecclesiastes 10:2 (New King James Version)

2 A wise man’s heart is at his right hand,
But a fool’s heart at his left.

Fascinating coicidence that Liberalism, Secularism, and Ungodly Ideologies are considered to be "The Left" and Conservatism is considered to be "The Right." Or is it a coincidence?