Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Paradox of Jesus

“Think of yourself the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God, but... instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death – and the worst kind of death at that: a crucifixion.” (Philippians 2:5,8, The Message)

On that first Palm Sunday, with all the shouts of “Hosanna!” and “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!”, one would have expected Jesus to enter Jerusalem on a mighty horse --a symbol of might and power. But instead, he chose a lowly donkey. Before he could come as a King to reign, he had to come as a Savior to die. Consider the many contrasts of Jesus' life, described by one writer:

“He who is the Bread of Life began his ministry hungering;
He who is the Water of Life ended his ministry thirsting;
Christ hungered as a human, yet fed the hungry as God;
He was weary, yet he is our perfect rest;
He paid tribute, yet he is a King himself;
He was called the Devil, yet he cast out demons;
He prayed, and yet he is the one who hears our prayers;
He wept, and yet he is the one who dries our tears;
He was sold for 30 pieces of silver, yet he redeems sinners;
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, yet he is called 'The Good Shepherd';
He who is the Resurrection gave up his own life, and by dying, he destroyed death itself.”

As we begin Holy Week, it is good to recall the wondrous love that God has for each one of us in giving his only son for our salvation. Remember, Jesus suffered and died then so that we might have victory and life today as Christians. Our salvation might be free to us, but it cost Jesus everything! Blessed, therefore, is Christ, who comes in the name of the Lord! Remember, God loves you and I do, too!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

It's Just A Biscuit!

“Even though I walk through the vale of deep darkness, I fear no evil, for you are with me…” (Psalm 23:4)

One day, a lady leaving a grocery store through the parking lot noticed a suspicious sight in a nearby parked car. Concerned, she went over and noticed it was a woman slumped over in the driver’s seat. She tapped on the window, asking if something was wrong and if the lady was okay. “No” the woman cried out, “I’ve been shot in the neck!”

Looking around, the “good Samaritan” didn’t see any evidence of gunfire – there was no blood on the lady’s neck, or anywhere else, and no sign of destruction inside the car, either. So, she carefully opened the driver’s side door and lifted the hair covering the woman’s neck (where she claims to have been shot).

To her amazement, the “Samaritan” lady found the cold, gooey dough of a raw biscuit lying stuck to the back of the woman’s neck. Evidently, a can of biscuits in the top of a grocery in the car’s back seat had popped open with a loud “bang,” sending a limp biscuit into the woman’s neck, making her think she’d been shot!

There are some of us today who (like the woman’ in the car) are paralyzed by things in life that make us feel like we’ve been “shot” by something truly dangerous: fear of the future; fear of the past; fear of change; a feeling or sense of hopelessness, insecurity, inadequacy, or depression; fear of what the economy may do to us (or to our family, job, or church); etc.

But when we understand these things in their proper perspective (from the point of view of faith in God), we learn the truth: we’ve only been “shot” with a biscuit – something that may feel or seem deadly, but which in fact has no real power over us at all. The verse above reminds us that not even the “vale of deep darkness” (or “valley of the shadow of death” as it’s sometimes translated) has no power over us if we trust in God’s presence with us.

So, whatever it is in life that you sometimes feel paralyzed by, remember to trust God with and through it – even death itself cannot ultimately hurt one who puts their faith in Christ! Trust in him with all your heart, and He will keep you in peace no matter what fearful things that life “shoots” at you! Remember, God loves you and I do, too!

Sunday, April 3, 2011


“Blow the trumpet in Zion; sanctify a fast; call an assembly” (Joel 2:15)

Several years ago, Dr. Kevin LaGree, former Dean of the Candler School of Theology at Emory University, once shared a message about the spiritual disciplines of the Christian season of Lent (the 40 days before Easter). Most of us are familiar with the custom of “fasting” (e.g., giving up) certain things during this period, especially certain types of food. But Dr. LaGree also pointed out that the taking on of certain spiritual things is just as vital as the things that we “give up.”

During that message, he said, “Lent is a time to FAST from certain things and FEAST on others. For example, during Lent, we should….

FAST from judging others; FEAST on Christ dwelling in them.

FAST from discontent; FEAST on gratitude.

FAST from complaining; FEAST on appreciation.

FAST from bitterness; FEAST on forgiveness.

FAST from discouragement; FEAST on hope.

FAST from apathy; FEAST on enthusiasm.

FAST from suspicion; FEAST on truth.

FAST from thoughts that weaken; FEAST on promises that inspire.

FAST from idle gossip; FEAST on purposeful silence.

FAST from problems that overwhelm; FEAST on prayer that sustains.”

LENT is indeed a time for both fasting and feasting. My prayer is that in the weeks and days that remain of this season before Easter, each of us will take time to look deep within our lives to discover those things from which we need to FAST (give up), and then to FEAST (take on) every good thing that can draw us closer to God’s presence, plan, and purpose. Remember, He loves you and I do, too!