While Christians celebrate Easter (Resurrection Day), the world marks the 50th Earth Day.
Started in 1970 by those worried about environmental damage, Earth Day attracts everyone from recycling enthusiasts to radical animal activists caring nothing about human abortion yet breaking into labs to free rats. Yes, the last has actually happened.
Meanwhile, followers of Jesus express to the Lord their thanks for the precious, unparalleled gift of eternal life. Without his sacrifice and raising again to life, we have no hope of forgiveness of sins or forever in heaven. However, when we are saved by his blood, we possess every assurance of "life more abundantly" (John 10:10) here, now, and into eternity.
A misguided politician recently called climate change "this generation's World War III." No, for Christ has told us "heaven and earth will pass away, but my Word by no means shall" (Matthew 24:35). Take care of the planet, but take greater pains to nurture the soul, for it never ends.
Were you there when they crucified my Lord? Yes, you were, as was I.
No, we aren’t 2,000 years old, but on that Good Friday long ago when Jesus was lifted up on a tree, he paid for every sin you and I would ever commit. All our misdeeds were heaped upon him in a moment in time. "It is finished!" he groaned (John 19:30).
Christ dying on the cross gave us an escape to freedom in every sin-causing circumstance. The height of his sacrifice takes Satan low when we call upon Jesus.
Yes, the Lord went into the grave today, but he burst forth on that blessed first Easter in the ancient past, nothing able to hold him down. That same power can be in you today if you accept Jesus as Lord and Savior.
This is Holy Week's Maundy Thursday, so named for the Latin word beginning John 13:34. That's where Jesus says, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another."
Christ states this having just identified Judas Iscariot as his betrayer and sent him on his way, though the rest of the 12 disciples do not understand why. The Lord has already washed his charges' feet to show them servant leadership.
Does Jesus then launch into a "woe is me" speech or a diatribe against those lying, conniving and otherwise sinning against him? No. Instead, he prepares his 11 faithful to lose him but gain his Spirit, alludes to his resurrection, prophesies of the coming persecution of his followers and prays not only for himself and his little band but all of us who would ever believe in him.
Then Judas brings forces from the Jewish leaders, who soon bind Christ and put him through a pair of kangaroo court proceedings. They even have him struck and abused again and again for being who he is: their promised Messiah.
Christ understands he will be crucified the next day. He has known this for years, maybe throughout eternity. He wants there to be another way but does not get it. Still, he is faithful to the worst punishment in human history, one given to the only defendant ever completely innocent.
Throughout all, he has put others first, refused to revile his attackers, shown love and patience to all and agreed to give everything to redeem unlovable, hateful and ungrateful people: all of us.
This still amazes and overwhelms me after 25 years in Christ.
"Nothing is certain in life except birth, death and taxes," goes an old saying, popular on this, the day that American taxes are due. We cannot affect the first and the last is only in the passing world, yet we often do little to get ready for death by ensuring where we spend the next phase of existence.
Many fear death, but it is simply a portal for moving to eternity. There are two destinations from that conduit: heaven and hell. "As it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many," says Hebrews 9:27-28. "To those who eagerly wait for him, he will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation."
I am amazed at the number of people who have no particular belief system but seem unconcerned about what happens to them after they depart this fallen world. This life is "70 years, and if by reason of strength, they are 80," Psalm 90:10 tells us. However, many die at 20, 30 or 40. Even if one were to live to 120, the greatest verified age in modern history, that still would be but a millisecond compared with forever.
Settle your final destination by believing on Christ today, and seek him while he may be found.
Arrogance is the rage today, and it's self-destructive. "A fool despises his father’s instruction, but he who receives correction is prudent," says Proverbs 15:5.
Do you let others teach you? Can you receive a word of rebuke that is offered in honesty and humility?
Much of the world answers "no" to both queries. That's why the globe is lurching one way, then the other, unstable in all its ways due to relying on itself.
Together we are strong, while separate we are weak.
The culture of death is expanding in the United States. God told the great prophet Jeremiah in the fifth verse of his prophetic book, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you," but he may not have made it out of the birth canal if conceived today.
New York State recently enacted a law allowing the murder of babies including and after their exit from the birth canal. Virginia's governor wanted to do so, but public outcry abruptly stopped the bill. Democrats in the U.S. Senate and House are trying to stop measures protecting infants born alive in failed abortion procedures.
In ancient Rome, parents could kill their children with impunity, and many left babies outside to die. The early Christians, finding in the Bible that God is the author of life, took in these infants and raised them as their own. The same god of convenience rules secular hearts today, but the grim reaper is blocking efforts to rescue kids. Two million would-be parents want to adopt unwanted children, but only 2 percent get to bring a baby into their families, thanks to Planned Parenthood and others promoting abortions from which they profit instead of adoptions preserving God's creation in his image.
I do not get political in my spirituality, but I fight for essential human rights, regardless of who's right or wrong. Life is as basic as those get. Stand, lobby and vote for life!
God is a good God – yes, he is! "Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full," Jesus said in John 16:24.
The Lord's desire is to bless us. However, like a good earthly father, he wants us to be mature, strong, dependable, faithful and complete in him, lacking in nothing.
Almighty God does often make us wait for his harvest, but Galatians 6:9 says we're bound to get a good one if we keep sowing the right seed. If you're his, ask – you will receive – at just the right time.
Has the work week worn you down? "Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest," Jesus says to you in Matthew 11:28-30. "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
When we continually get overly tired, resentful or enraged in our lives, something is wrong. Perhaps we have put our spouse ahead of God; maybe we need to give up a certain activity. God could be calling us elsewhere.
Much angst also comes from anticipating this or that will be horrible, play politics to get what we want, overworking because we think it will please someone, or another needless effort. We must trust God knows best, will fight for us if we do right, forgive us if we do wrong, and work all together for good for those of us who love him.
Ask the Lord what’s going on, to make it clear, and he will. And remember this life is but a vapor, but heaven and hell are for eternity.
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