I drive a Geo Tracker 4x4 Convertible, blue with a white top. Don’t you dare laugh at me, because when it grows up it’s going to be a Jeep Wrangler!
On the way home from work, there was another Tracker in the lane next to me, just like mine, except it was solid white. The driver was a young Hispanic man in his early twenties. I pulled up beside him, looked over and smiled and gave him a thumb’s up sign for his cool ride (that means nice choice of vehicle). He returned the smile and gesture, and for a brief moment, in busy traffic, our lives leaped the barriers of thirty years age difference, race and language. It was a two-thumbs-up experience!
Connecting with people at any level is crucial in our impersonal, selfish world. It might only be a sincere “How-do-you-do”, or a word of encouragement, or genuine interest in something he/she is wearing, or a question about their family. It really doesn’t matter what topic you choose. What is important, is that Christians have the privilege, no, the obligation to give back some of the joy which Jesus has given to us.
“You are the light of the world... let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”(Matthew 5:14, 16)
GospeLines Prayer:The world has taught me so well the value of minding my own business, that I sometimes forget that YOUR business is my main business. Well, that stops right now! Today, allow me to connect with one person so that they may experience a little bit of the joy of which I have a lot! Amen and amen.
What could be more devastating than hearing a doctor say, “There’s nothing more we can do?”How do we reconcile our grief with our faith?Once again we ask the age old question, “Why does a good God let bad things happen?”
A recent letter from a GospeLines reader may help us gain some Godly insight into that question.As you read her thoughts below, let these words from our Lord remain in your mind:
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified… the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you." (Deuteronomy 31:6)
“…those who let distress drive them away from God are full of regrets, end up on a deathbed of regrets.” (2nd Corinthians 7:10 - The Message)
“I get so down at times knowing we’re losing him.I do know that God knows the whole picture and that death is not always the worst thing to happen.We just don't know what God will be saving him from on down the road.I believe God has allowed me to understand this reasoning for a purpose.Don't get me wrong; I haven’t given up hope of him being cured.He will be cured, either here or with Jesus.
I’ve been asked if I’m angry with God.I can honestly say that I’m not.We’re not the first family to have this to endure, nor will we be the last...I can't understand why a child should have to go through the throes of cancer, I never will understand; but, I can accept by faith that He will never leave nor forsake us.”
This dear sister has touched the Heart of God with her words: “I never will understand; but, I can accept by faith that He will never leave nor forsake us.”She understands God’s Words when He says “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9)She knows that “The righteous will live by faith.” (Romans 1:17)
Brothers and Sisters, it’s not always easy to give away our grief and anguish.We want to hold on to it and nourish it – maybe for revenge or maybe because we believe that by holding on to our anger and frustration we can somehow absolve ourselves of any sense of complicity.
Jesus said, “…my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:30)But, He also said, “Come to Me.”We have to “go to Him” if we are weary and burdened and then He will give us rest.We have to “take His yoke” as a gift of His love and grace.He will not force it upon us.
How often have we been burdened with grief, sorrow, anger or bitterness but refused to give it to the Master?He did not ask us to live by knowledge or understanding... He asked us to live by faith.
"…we can face Him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world."
My wife and our twin girls were in Las Vegas last weekend for her nephew's wedding (I had to work and couldn't attend).The night they left I missed them so much I cried.
During the 23 years we’ve been married, I’ve traveled all over the world on business (and so has my wife).Since we’ve been separated many, many times before; why did this one affect me so dramatically?
Maybe it’s because I’m older and more aware that time is short.Maybe it’s because every day the world becomes a more dangerous place; so, I worry more.Maybe it’s because our girls are getting older and soon they’ll leave us and move on with their lives.But maybe it’s those 23 years.Maybe in all those years my love for my family has grown to the point that I just can't bear the thought of being separated from them even for a short time.
As I realized why I was crying – that my love for my wife and our daughters had grown that strong – I thought of a line from one of our Easter songs: “How can it be that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, would leave His home and die for me?”My family is separated for a short time because of my wife and daughters love for our nephew.They’ve grown to love him over part of a human lifetime.God has loved His Son for eternity; yet, He sent Him away from His home to die for us.
Who are we that He should love us that much?Who are we that He would give His only Son, “that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
By the grace of God, my family returned after a few days, filled with happiness and many wonderful stories about their trip. Jesus returned home as well and now sits at the right hand of the Father interceding for us.But, while He was away from His home, He was ignored, ridiculed, tortured and crucified.He did this willingly so that we might be saved and have eternal life.That's how God showed His amazing love for us.
I'll still miss my family when we're separated; and, I’ll probably cry from time to time because of their absence.However, I now shed tears daily, but for a different reason - They’re tears of joy because God has revealed just a little more about the depth of His amazing love.
“Amazing Love, how can it be, that You my King, would die for me.”
“…I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father,but byMe.”
With only six days before the Passover, the day Jesus would be handed over to be crucified, He was deeply burdened that the disciples were still clueless about what would happen in less than a week.Would anyone listen to what He was saying?“I will be executed in a few days!You must prepare for the inevitable,” He said.
At least one person understood the mission of Jesus.The custom was to prepare the body for burial by anointing it with precious ointment, some which may have cost as much as a year's wages.Over the protests of His followers, Scripture says a woman did that very thing on Saturday before Jesus was crucified on the Friday following.She understood and accepted the reason for His coming, and why he would die a hero's death.
Prisoners who await their execution can tell you with certainty the exact day of their death, barring any late reprieve from the Supreme Court.For three years, Jesus tried to tell the disciples that Friday was coming and urged them to prepare for the day, but the twelve who had shared so much in life, refused to talk about the loss of their leader.Death and dying are not topics which friends and family want to discuss at length.
Mary was my volunteer secretary where I had served as pastor.When I learned that she was dying I went to her bedside where we reminisced, laughed and cried together while holding hands there in her hospital room.As I was about to pray for her, I asked "Mary, how do you want me to pray?For healing?"She looked into my tearful eyes and said, "No, pastor.I am ready to go home."In that poignant moment, I reluctantly anointed her with prayer for what we believed we could not change.It was heart-breaking for us to say our good-byes, but we knew it was the right thing to do.It was not the end for Mary, only the end of the beginning and she was not afraid.
GospeLines Prayer:Lord Jesus, you not only have taught us how to live, but you have taught us how to die as well.Give us courage to live in such a way that when it is time for us to walk through heaven's gates, we will know that our journey on earth was lived victoriously.Amen and amen.
The road to the resurrection begins six days before Passover in the town of Bethany.Jesus dined with Simon, Lazarus, Mary and Martha.During the meal, Mary anointed Jesus’ head and feet with precious ointment that would have cost a year’s salary of a laborer (300 dinars).Phillip told Jesus that it would cost two hundred dinars to buy bread to feed 5,000 men, women and children.
Jesus arrives in Bethany
Experience the Bible
Read today’s suggested verses and answer the questions below:
1.Reflect upon the value of the gift Jesus received from Mary.What is the greatest gift you can give Jesus?
2.Why do you think Mary was the only one who really understood the mission of Jesus at the time?
3.Because of what Jesus had done for him, Lazarus was now at risk (John 12).Suppose you were at risk because of what Jesus has done for you.How would that alter your life and witness?
Close your Bible Study with prayer while you reflect upon your answers to the questions.Ask God to make this Easter season the most meaningful ever.
≈ Devotional for Friday, April 3, 2009
"The Triumphal Entry"
Palm Sunday – John 12:12-15
Historical and Christian documents refer to the Sunday before Easter as Palm Sunday.It was the day when Jesus rode into the city of Jerusalem on the back of a young donkey, symbolic of the triumphal entry of a warrior who has been victorious in battle.
Young and old, Jews and Christians came to see this Sacrificial Lamb of God riding into Jerusalem like a conquering hero."BLESSED IS HE... HOSANNA!” they shouted.The road was covered with flowers and palm branches, befitting the royalty of that day.Jesus had told them that He would be crucified as soon as the authorities caught up with him.He stared death in the face, challenging the religious leaders to make good on their threats to silence him once and for all.The whole city was stirred with wonder and awe, "Who is this?” they asked.And the crowds answered, "This is Jesus from Nazareth."
Did you recognize Jesus when He came to you on Palm Sunday 2009, or were you among those who asked, “Who is this?”Open your spiritual eyes and allow Him to ride triumphantly into your life today.He brings a message of courage and victory over everything that defeats you.Sing with the multitudes, "Hosanna in the Highest... Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord."Amen and amen.
Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem, on a colt that had never before been ridden, was a statement of the meekness of majesty which is reflected in the Beatitudes.“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”(Matthew 5:5)This occurred on the very day that the paschal lamb was chosen for sacrifice for the Passover meal later in the week.The Lamb of God was preparing for the time when He would be offered as the supreme sacrifice on the cross.
Triumphal entry into Jerusalem
Experience the Bible
After reading the verses for today, consider your response to the questions below:
1.At Jesus’ birth the heavenly host sang, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”(Luke 2:14)Contrast that event with Palm Sunday, when the crowds proclaimed, “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”What is God saying to you through these two different messages?
2. Imagine the excitement the multitudes experienced that day!What importance does praise have in your relationship with God?Is it more important than prayer?Worship? Bible Study?