It’s almost here – Easter, my favorite holiday! Without Easter there is no reason to get out of bed. No reason to celebrate a birthday. No reason to hope for anything good to come to this difficult life. No hope for eternal life with God.
But there IS Easter! Why? Jesus arose from the dead! He is alive! He conquered death and hell. That means my I can live, truly live in this life, and live eternally. I have trusted in Christ – that His death on the cross was the penalty for my sin. He has rescued me! Oh, what reason to celebrate not just this Sunday, but every day!!
Today on Good Friday, we remember that Jesus died on the cross. We remember His pain and suffering as He hung between the thieves, though He had never sinned. We hear Him cry out in the darkness, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do,” and we know that the word, “them” includes you and me. We crucified Him. We were guilty. We remember that He was buried in a borrowed tomb, and three days later, He arose!
My heart is so thankful that He lives and He gives me purpose for every day! If you don’t have an assurance of eternal life, He loves you, and if you had been the only one born, He would have died just for you. Acknowledge that you are a sinner and put your faith in Him alone. He can rescue you from sin and eternal separation from Him in hell and fill your life with the joy of knowing Him now.
My church, Boones Creek Bible Church is having a Good Friday service today, April 15 at 4:00 in the afternoon. We would love to have you join us. It’s going to be a precious time of remembering His sacrifice on the cross.
Also, if you don’t have a church home, we’d love for you to come to our Easter service at 10:30 Sunday morning.
If you need a great object lesson to share with children about what Jesus’ death on the cross accomplished, you can watch this demonstration I did here on You Tube.
Walking along the shoreline of the ocean begs for shell-seeking. As you walk along, you are blinded by glimmers of colors pressed into the sand. You hear the crunch of the buried bits under your feet and an inquisitive mind wonders what treasures could be revealed just under their sandalled foot.
We bend down and scour the sand. What are we looking for? The perfect shell. Not one that has been walked upon, like we just did moments before! No, we seek for one that is unbroken; one that is completely whole with nothing missing or cracked. Those finds are rare. They are discovered by the early morning seekers, donned in water boots, standing ankle deep in the ocean’s foam to make their find before the lazy beachcombers awaken.
As I surveyed the beach on a mid-morning walk last week, I saw a shell in all its beauty! It appeared perfect! I snapped a picture to document my perfect find!
As I bent down and inspected the shell, I was reminded of how we also seek perfection in the children that would enter our home. “As long as they’re healthy, that’s all that matters!” we say. And what do we do if we find that there is a problem – a crack, if you will?
What if a piece is missing, causing an illness or an unwanted diagnosis later on?
What if their make-up is strong-willed and stubborn?
What if there are special needs?
What happens if there is a learning disability?
What if rebellion comes with age and maturity?
What ever will we do with the brokenness that displays itself at the time when we are most embarrassed by it?
The truth is that every child is broken. It comes as a result of being born into a sinful, broken world that has put sin in their nature. That “crack” will be seen in each child in different ways and different times, but it’s there. The blessing isn’t from overlooking the imperfection, but acknowledging it, for then we can find the Hope needed to comfort and restore.
That hope is the grace of God that brings salvation. As sure as the ocean’s tide will cover that broken shell on the shoreline, God’s grace will cover our child as they hear the message of the Gospel. Their greatest need isn’t to be “fixed,” but to be saved. If their weakness, brokenness and imperfection will point them to Jesus as the Savior for their sins, would it not be a treasure for which we did not ask?
What about illnesses, weaknesses and deformities and struggles that put hardship on the parents? God’s grace is as deep as the ocean, and it is sufficient for each day’s burdens and struggles. As the grace of God is witnessed by His daily strength to help, His wisdom to know how to move forward, and His provision that supplies for needs, that weakness glorifies the God who made that child and formed them in the womb. Surely He also puts in our hearts that this is not forever. One Day wholeness will come.
As I watch the waves roll in, one at a time, the Lord reminds me that that is how grace is given to us – one need at a time – not before we need it, or less than we need, but when we need it, and in sufficient amounts.
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. II Corinthians 12:9
After careful examination, it turned out that the “perfect shell” I found wasn’t perfect after all. Lovely as they are, I also saw early on that my girls were also broken, just like their parents! Praise God for the saving grace that has been applied to their lives and that is continually working in each of us as we look forward to that day in heaven when we will be like Jesus! That’s when we will see perfection!
Oh, how God’s heart rejoices at those that go looking for the broken! That refers to those that need the Gospel. With whom are we sharing the Good News of Christ? Are you pouring the Gospel message into your children every day, weaving its message into all of life? As parents, it’s your responsibility! If you don’t have children in your home, are you teaching the Gospel to your grandchildren or to your friends, neighbors and the people with whom you interact?
Let’s not be looking for what our hearts think we need (perfection) and instead, purposefully look for the brokenness around us that needs the tidal wave of God’s saving grace! There is no greater Treasure!
I read about a man who wanted to be a doctor so badly that he decided to impersonate one, and was arrested for doing so! There’s a big difference between someone who says they are something and someone who really is what they claim.
When we read the fourth and fifth chapters of the book of Acts, we read words like, great faith and great power that came over the Christians. I can just hear their joy as they had all things common and were laying their gifts at the apostles’ feet so that the ministry of the Gospel could press forward.
How invigorating! How exciting!
But in my head, I can almost hear the music of the movie, Jaws beginning to play as Chapter 5 begins. It’s that eerie music that tells you that something really bad is getting ready to happen.
Sure enough, you turn to chapter 5 and we meet Annanias and Sapphira, a husband and a wife. The chapter starts with the word, BUT, which tells us that after the joy, fellowship and sacrifice that we read the believers had, this couple is experiencing something completely different. What did they experience? They simply imitate what they saw.
“Oh, others are giving money from land they sold? We will, too!”
But they connived together to only give part of what they received, but to say that they were giving it ALL. They each came, one at a time and told their lie to Peter. They were both buried that same day.
Their sin was not that they didn’t give it all – their sin was that they lied about it. Where did that sin get its root? In their heart. Why did they lie? Because they only professed that they had the same thing these early Christians truly possessed. They didn’t have a true love for God and the risen Savior.
You and I can imitate this dead duo simply by saying with our mouths what is not truly in our heart. I believe there are many people in the church who profess they are Christians, but they’ve never possessed Christ as their own personal Savior.
We can look at this couple and learn whether or not we are possessors or only professors of a true relationship with Christ Let’s look at the differences between the two.
Possessors pray. Professors talk about prayer. A relationship with the Lord begins with prayer. We confess our need for Christ. We confess that we are sinful and unable to save ourselves. We surrender our lives to Him. People who don’t really know Christ can say a lot about praying, but they don’t have an intimate, close relationship with the Lord so that they are in constant communication with Him.
Possessors give sacrificially. Professors give sparingly. A true believer realizes that everything he owns came from the Lord, so he opens his hand and gives it back with a thankful, generous heart. A professor is more concerned about looking like a giver and is fearful of giving away too much, so he gives what he thinks he can afford to give.
Possessors love the fellowship of other believers.Professors isolate themselves. A true believer enjoys the fellowship of the saints. Time to worship, pray and communicate with other believers invigorates and strengthens him! A professor gets irritated at the length of time a church service goes. They complain about “having to pray” in a group. They can’t wait to get our the door.
Possessors speak out of their own personal witness. Professors can only say what they have heard someone else say. A true believer has a walk with God that is fresh. They are constantly learning as they dig into God’s Word. They share what God taught them today.A professor doesn’t have a continual understanding of the Word of God because He doesn’t have the Holy Spirit in him to teach the Truth. Therefore, they can only echo things they’ve read or heard from others.
Possessors operate with great grace. Professors operate out of the their flesh. A true believer has God’s grace to be able to give, to pray and to tell others what God has done for them. A professor has to pull up from their flesh the willing and the doing.
Possessors have the evidence of spiritual life. Professors show evidence of spiritual death. True believers produce good works out of the spiritual life – not to gain it, but their works prove their spiritual life. Professors can only reveal dead works because they are dead people, just as we literally see in Ananias and Sapphira.
We need to remember that a believer who is out of fellowship with God can imitate an unbeliever. That means that if we are living with unconfessed sin, we haven’t lost our salvation, but we will look just like the professors that were just described.
I don’t want my “dead corpse” to be my testimony. I long to live a life that is alive and vibrant, giving, praying, learning, and enjoying fellowship all with great grace!
Which are you? A possessor or a professor? It’s your choice.
I think I’ve shaken my head out of confusion and disbelief more in the last few months than in my entire life.
It’s centered around the Coronavirus, of course (because isn’t everything these days?).
You may not sit inside…Of course we serve inside but you may not sit outside!
Only half capacity in store…Only 7% in stadium!
Church may not meet…Half the building may be full.
Masks are required at all times by everyone…Most of the staff have masks pushed down below their nose.
No one may stay overnight at the hospital with a patient…We can make allowances for you to stay.
I could go on, but I think you get my drift. It’s not as much what we have to do, but how inconsistent all the rules are that make this a season of frustration and confusion.
This frustration made me sit recently and think about how thankful I am that my salvation is rock solid. It is all based on Christ Who never changes and on His Word that is forever true! I never have to wonder if He has changed His mind or if there have been new guidelines added as to how to get to heaven! It’s as simple as 1, 2, 3.
Realize I’m a sinner on my way to hell.
Understand that Christ took my place on the cross to reconcile me to God.
Accept Christ as my personal Savior.
All that will never change. Why?
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. Hebrews 13:8
What peace that truth gives! My daily life goes on with a grateful heart. Christ lifted the rules (the law) and saves us by grace!! How blessed we are!
So in reality, I can be thankful for the inconsistencies because it makes me realize once again what a wonderful gift my salvation truly is!
I’m done ranting about the Coronavirus…until I start ranting again. Just kidding. I really am asking the Lord to help me to remember the grace-filled life I get to enjoy for ETERNITY and be thankful instead!
Maybe this reminder will give each of us something to share with others when we start to shake our head again. The world needs to know of our Savior Who is ALWAYS full of grace, and that never changes!
It was a busy evening of decorating the church for our recent Vacation Bible School when one of the leaders picked up a “Conversation Beach Ball” and decided it was time for a break. She threw the ball to a worker and yelled, “Right hand!” They caught the ball and then read the question that was under the grasp of their right thumb and answered it. The ball was passed to me and the question I read was something like,
What Bible story do you love the most?
Not wanting to take too much time to answer, I thought of one I’d recently been reading in my morning devotions. I said, “The story of Joseph forgiving his brothers.” The group was satisfied with my answer because it allowed the game to continue.
The next day I got to thinking back on our game, and my question in particular, and I was shocked when I thought about how I had responded!