Tag Archives: life

More Than Death Insurance

More Than Death Insurance

“When one asked the salesman what he was selling, he said, “Life insurance.”

“That’s not life, but death insurance.”

“What do you mean?”

“You have to die to win.”

“Not always. You get your money back with big interest in 10 or 20 years if you live, but if you die your family is protected for a number of years.”

“Fine. The Bible says, ‘But if any provide not for his own, specially for those of his own house, he has denied the faith and is worse than an infidel, but it’s more important to carry life insurance.”

“Say, what are you selling?”

“Life insurance. Eternal life. Nothing to pay, and you begin to get big dividends immediately, of peace, joy, contentment, and an understanding of God’s plan for your life.””  (-Knights)

What kind of insurance do you have?  Jesus came to earth to give something better than death or life “insurance.”  He came to earth to purchase eternal life.  Jesus paid the full price that our sin – death.  He died in my place.  He died for my sin.  He died in your place.  He died for your sin.  He shed His blood for our sin.  Theologians call this Substitutionary Atonement.

Romans 5:8 teaches, But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  Jesus demonstrated or proved His love for us with his work and action on the cross.  He did not just say “I love you.”  He demonstrated love when He laid down His life for us.  No matter how BIG or little you perceive your sin to be, Jesus still loves you!  None of us are worthy, but He loves us anyway.

Then He rose from the dead.  The phrase: “Rose Again” in 1 Corinthians 15:4 indicates that while He was previously dead, He came back to life, and continues to be alive!”  What an incredible truth!  Jesus continues to be alive today.

As I prepared for Easter Sunday preaching, I searched out all the leaders of the worlds major religions.  Here is what I found:

Buddhism. The Buddha’s body was cremated in Kushinagar, India and the relics were placed in monuments or stupas, some of which are believed to have survived until the present. Ramabhar Stupa in Kushinagar was built over a portion of the Buddha’s ashes on the spot where he was cremated by the ancient Malla people. The Temple of the Tooth or Dalada Maligawa in Sri Lanka is the place where the right tooth relic of Buddha is kept at present.

Christian Science.  Mary Baker Eddy is buried at Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts in the United States.

Confucianism. The grave of Confucius, founder of Confucianism, is in his home town of Qufu, Shandong Province, China. The grave of Confucius is located in a large cemetery where more than 100,000 of his descendants are also buried.

Islam. According to early Muslim sources, Muhammad is buried in the Al-Masjid an-Nabawi (“Mosque of the Prophet”) in the city of Medina in Saudi Arabia. The tomb of Muhammad lies within the confines of what used to be his wife Aisha’s and his house. During his lifetime it adjoined the mosque, which was expanded during the reign of Caliph al-Walid I to include his tomb.

Scientology.  Upon his death, L. Ron Hubbard was cremated and his ashes were scattered in the Pacific Ocean.” (Wikipedia)

Christianity: Go to the Garden Tomb at Jerusalem.  There are no bones, no ashes – nothing!  Jesus walked out of that stone tomb alive!  Jesus is alive today. 

Would you believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus?  This is called the Gospel.  Jesus is alive and calling to you for a response.  Will you accept the forgiveness of sins and receive eternal life from Jesus?  He loves you.  Believe in Him today.

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Running to the Tomb

Running to the Tomb

“Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre. So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre. And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed. For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.”  John 20:3-9

Peter and John are stoked.  They are amazed at what Mary Magdalene has just told them about the tomb being empty.  It had been a fast three days earlier that everyone saw Joseph of Arimathea wrap the body of Jesus and lay it in a brand-new tomb.

Peter and John run.  They run to verify the amazing story of the resurrection.  After running to ensure the validity of the empty tomb, verse 8 says: “he saw, and believed.”  What John saw and believed was that Jesus was gone, the resurrection took place, just as He had said.

Many Christians would say they “believe.” Our issue today is that we take that “belief” for granted.  Since the resurrection is life changing, eternity changing, and is the single most monumental moment in history, you would think we would have a higher regard for Jesus and the salvation He purchased for us on the Cross.  This moment of victory is unparalleled by anything else in life.  Anything.

Even while we “believe” many of us are not as enthusiastic about the Cross, the Resurrection, and of Jesus as we ought to be.  How many Christians will make it to Easter Sunday on time?  How many will be late?  How many will show up at all? How many will have an inner excitement visible on the outside with facial expressions of peace, joy, and satisfaction in Jesus?  We tend to “run” everywhere else: “Run” to the store.  “Run” to the Doctor or to the school event.  We “run” to sporting events and more!

We should run to the empty tomb Easter Sunday and every Sunday.  The Christian church celebrates the resurrected Lord Jesus every Sunday.  That is why the old “Sabbath Day” of worship was moved to Sunday.  Because Jesus rose on the first day of the week. We should congregate with other Christians to worship the resurrected Lord.  We should be quick to priorities celebrating our faithful God and praising His Son for what He did on the Cross and in the Tomb for us.

We may not need to physically run to church, but we should have the same drive and energetic spirit to stop everything else to praise the Lord.  Go to church this Sunday with the same emotions of jubilation and amazement that Peter and John had that very first resurrection day!

 

 

 

 

 

The Trees of Christmas

The Trees of Christmas

Do you enjoy decorating the Christmas tree?  Many people love them.  I like seeing the big ones in parks.  Our children have fun decorating our tree each year in our home.

We have a “Thanksgiving Tree” in our house as soon as November rolls around.  Then we re-decorate to make it our Christmas tree in December.  Use the same tree for nearly 2 months of the year.

Having family customs and traditions will make your home a place of special memories.  Your kids will love it and remember it.  Even if it is inconvenient for you, the memories will be worth it later.

The Christmas Story begins and ends with a tree. 

There are Several Trees in the Bible as we think about the Christmas Tree.

Our First Tree is in the Garden of Eden.

The Garden of Eden was full of Trees: Fur, Cedars, Chesnut, etc… :  Ezekiel message to Pharaoh included trees.  The King of Assyria was compared to these trees and Pharaoh was told he would become greater than these trees:  Ezekiel 31:8-9 says, The cedars in the garden of God could not hide him: the fir trees were not like his boughs, and the chesnut trees were not like his branches; nor any tree in the garden of God was like unto him in his beauty. 9 I have made him fair by the multitude of his branches: so that all the trees of Eden, that were in the garden of God, envied him.  Pharaoh would also fall in his pride:  Ezekiel 31:18 To whom art thou thus like in glory and in greatness among the trees of Eden? yet shalt thou be brought down with the trees of Eden unto the nether parts of the earth: thou shalt lie in the midst of the uncircumcised with them that be slain by the sword. This is Pharaoh and all his multitude, saith the Lord GOD.

The “Tree of Life” is mentioned in Genesis 2:9, And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

“The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil” is also spoken of in Genesis 2:16-17.  God told Adam and Adam told Eve to not eat the fruit of this tree.  They could eat all the other tree fruit, except this one.

Eve was tempted by the Serpent and Adam chose to disobey the Lord.  They fell to the Temptation of the Tree:  Genesis 3:17 says,  And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;

This resulted in SEPARATION from God: Genesis 3:2 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:

Much SORROW came about including being kicked out of the Garden of Eden: Genesis 3:24, So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

Apparently, before sin, Adam could eat the fruit of the “Tree of Life.”  After sin – God removed Adam and Eve from the Garden so they could no longer eat the tree of life.

The Next Tree is in The Garden of Gethsemane.  

While not mentioned specifically, the Lord Jesus was praying to God the Father in the midst of a grove of Olive trees.  This location is the Mount of Olives.  There are many of the same trees alive today that were there when Jesus met with God the Father in prayer. The photo above is of one of those trees.

Matthew 26:36-39 tells us, Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. 37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. 38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. 39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

From Olive Oil to Olive Branches, much is symbolized in the Olive Tree.

  • A Symbol of Preservation. Genesis 8:11 declares, And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth.  The Lord preserved the human race and the olive branch was a sign of hope that they survived the global flood and a new life was emerging following the flood.
  • A Symbol of Prosperity. Olive Oil;  we cook with it.  It is used in Old Testament ceremonies.  Even Candles (or lamps) were lit with it in the Old and New Testaments.
  • A Symbol of Peace. Olive Branch. Think United Nations logo.  There is an Olive Branch.

In the middle of the Olive Grove Jesus was making Preservation Possible, giving us the Prosperity of Heaven, and Praying for believers to have Peace with God.  Peace is possible only because of His blood that was shed on the third tree we will look at – the Golgotha Tree.  Because of the sin surrounding the first tree – an our own sin, Jesus came to earth to die on a tree.

Because of sin – we are at enmity against God.  In other words we are enemies towards God.  That is not a good place to be!  Observe the following:

  • John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
  • John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
  • 1 John 5:12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.

 

The Third Tree is The Golgotha Tree; Otherwise known as “The Old Rugged Cross.”

  • Galatians 3:13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
  • 1 Peter 2:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
  • John 12:32-33 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. 33 This he said, signifying what death he should die.

WE GO FULL CIRCLE.  We Begin with a Tree in the Garden of Eden,  We walked up the Mount of Olives to the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus prayed on His way to the Cross, and then– it was on that Old Rugged Tree – Jesus died for your sin.

  • The First tree was fashioned by God and sinfully visited by man.
  • The Last Tree was Fashioned by Man and selflessly visited by God.
  • The First Tree was Perfect and wonderful to see.
  • The Last Tree was splintered, ugly, and bloody – hard to look at.
  • The First tree opened mankind’s eyes to sin.
  • The Last Tree covers God’s eyes to our sin.
  • The first Tree was Adams Downfall.
  • The Last Tree was Jesus’s Death.
  • It was because of the First Tree That Jesus had to come to earth.
  • It is because of the Last Tree that we can go to Heaven.

After spending 3 entire days dead – Jesus rose again.  After dying on the cross, and paying the price for our sin – Jesus came out of the tomb.  Just as Jesus came the first time – He is coming again, a second time.

Believe in the First Coming of Jesus.  He came to die on the cross taking your sin.  Christmas time is a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus who came to earth to make a way for you to be united with God.  Without Jesus we have no relationship or fellowship with God the Father.  While the first tree became the ruin of man, the last tree became the place of our salvation.

Why not accept Jesus by faith today?  Receive the free gift of eternal life.  It is free to us; yet paid for with the high price of the life of Jesus.

Don’t look at the Christmas Tree in your home the same way today.  Let it remind you of the first and last tree.  The Christmas Story begins and ends with a tree. 

 

 

 

Embracing the Day

Embracing the Day

Then said she, Sit still, my daughter, until thou know how the matter will fall: for the man will not be in rest, until he have finished the thing this day.  Ruth 3:18

Boaz was on a mission of love.  Ruth was suspended hopeful in apprehension.  Naomi speaks words truth and comfort.  Ruth 3:18 is a description of Boaz and his relentless pursuit of the woman he loved.  He needed to secure the assurance that he, and not the closer kinsman, would marry Ruth.

“Who will I marry?” is on the mind of Ruth and perhaps you have pondered a similar BIG decision.  As Ruth is playing the “waiting game” that most of us do not enjoy, she is comforted by the words of Naomi.  Sitting still is difficult for most of us.  Waiting for the day, week, month, or year to unfold can be challenging!  “I can’t wait until…”  I have been guilty of saying this too.  “What is going to happen?” is a statement sometimes rooted in worry.  We should look ahead and live for eternity with “eternity’s values in view.”  While waiting, we are to strive to please the Lord in thoughts and actions.  A Godly woman waits patiently while embracing each day.

Think about the attributes Naomi gave to Boaz.  They are attributes any loving, motivated, and faithful man can have in his life.  A faithful man embraces the day the Lord has given to him.

What can we do in the day the Lord gives to us?  Here are 3 brief truths:

  • A faithful man who is on a mission will not rest until the mission is accomplished.
  • A faithful man who has a mission and job to accomplish will see it through until completion.
  • A faithful man will jump every obstacle, while not giving up hope, to accomplish his mission.

Embrace the day God has given to you.  Make the most of the moments you have with family, church ministry, and occupational work.  If you are a student, embrace the schooling days of your life to learn and grow.  Don’t’ look so far ahead that you miss serving God today.  Be relentless like Boaz in fulfilling the will of God and showing your love towards Him.

Whether waiting to see what happens or working until the day is over, be focused on making the most of the day the Lord has given you.  Embrace each day as a gift from God.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Announcement That Changed the World

The Announcement That Changed the World

There have been many famous announcements in history.  For example, on October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed a paper with 95 statements about the Catholic Church.  The “95 Theses” was an announcement that changed the world.  People began protesting the Catholic Church because it did not follow the Bible.  Historically, Baptists were never part of the Catholic Church, but this announcement of Luther started a turning back to the Bible for many people.  On July 4th, 1776 the most important human statement of political principles in the history of the world was announced.  The Declaration of Independence was signed on that day, changing the world.  In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell patented his first telephone.  This technology announcement changed the world.  English scientist Lord Kelvin called it “the most wonderful thing in America.”  In 1879 Thomas Edison announced the invention of the light bulb that forever changed the face of this planet.  What a blessing the light bulb has been to millions of people the world over.  On April 6, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson declared “the world must be safe for democracy” and declared war on Germany.  The US troops made it in time to rescue Paris from falling to the Germans.  In September 1938 President Roosevelt cabled Hitler and told him to turn from his course of war.  Again in April 1939 President Roosevelt informed Hitler and Mussolini of the American people’s desire to avoid war and promote peace.  The only message these tyrants could hear was war.  After the attack at Pearl Harbor on December 7, the next day, December 8, 1941 America declared war on Japan, three days later on Germany, and Italy.  These are some announcements that changed the world…

Only a few announcements in history changed the entire world.

  • The Angel of the Lord told Abraham in Genesis 22:18: And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.
  • Moses took God’s message to Pharaoh in Egypt: “Let My People Go.”
  • The Angel of the Lord gave the birth announcement of Jesus Christ to the shepherds; what a world/eternity changer! I DO NOT KNOW how to compare the birth of Christ to the Death and resurrection of Christ.  BOTH are important.  Both announcements are needed.  Jesus was born to die.  IF He did not rise again, He would have been an ordinary person who lived and died.  That is why His resurrection is called the Announcement that Changed the World!

Here is the greatest announcement as told in the book of Matthew…

In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. 2 And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.  3  His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:  4 And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. 5 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.  6 He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.  7 And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.  8 And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.  9 And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.  10 Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.   –  Matthew 28:1-10

His friends and family members were witnesses to His death.  What a tragic, saddening day, when the innocent Lamb of God was led away to be crucified.  “Crucify Him, Crucify Him” the people jeered.

Sin is a separator.  Sin separates us from God.  Death is the penalty for sin.  Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God, gave Himself as a perfect sacrifice.  Man is not good.  We are sinners.  Titus 3:5-7 says… “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”  Jesus died in our place at the hands of hateful people and of a Holy God.  Jesus became sin for us – that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.  Man hated Him.  The Father turned His back to Him.  Jesus suffered our death and our Hell so we could be saved.

One commentator said this: “The friends of Jesus saw him and heard him only a few times after that Easter morning, but their lives were completely changed. What seemed to be the end proved to be the beginning; what seemed to be a cause for fear proved to be a cause for courage; what seemed to be defeat proved to be victory; and what seemed to be the basis for despair proved to be the basis for hope.”

The sacrifice had been given.  Christ had died and was buried, placed in the tomb.  His body was wrapped in linen and laid on a stone bed with a stone covering the tomb entrance.  The stone was sealed probably with a cord and wax attaching both the stone and the exterior cave wall.  Similar to the sealing of letters, the wax would give away if there was any tampering.  Sabbath Day had passed, by the time the ladies who came to properly and permanently bury His body with spices.  They were confronted by the Angel of the Lord at the tomb on Sunday, the first day of the week…

The Angel of the Lord had rolled back the stone and sat on it.  Then the Angel appeared, the earth shook, and the soldiers fell down and fainted in amazement.  By the time the ladies arrive it is early in the morning, sunrise.  They get to the scene and find the Roman soldiers lying on the ground, the tomb door rolled away, and an angel sitting on the stone!

This booklet is written to let the reader know:  Jesus rose from the dead!  The greatest announcement in the history of the world is that: “Jesus is alive!”  The power in the Gospel is that Jesus rose from the dead!

There are 5 points in the announcement the angel gives pertaining to Christ in this passage. 

Notice verse 6 and 7 in particular:  “He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.  And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.”

“He is Not Here.”

If you were able to take a roll call of famous religious leaders of the past, if they were able to respond, what they would say.  “Buddha?”  “Here.” ”Muhammad?” “Here.”  “Joseph Smith?” “Present.”  Gandhi? “I’m Here.”  None of these men have risen from the dead.  Their bones are still in the tombs in which their body was laid at the time of their death…

Jesus was and is not in the tomb.

What a big difference in contrast to Jesus.  On the Cross Jesus cried out as John 19:30 says, “It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.  Jesus was dead, the Roman soldier verified this when he thrust the spear through the side of Christ.  Water and blood gushed out – Jesus was dead.  Jesus was buried in the tomb.  When the ladies arrived at the tomb, it was three days earlier Joseph of Arimathea had wrapped up the body of Christ and laid it in the tomb.

Jesus was not in the grave clothes. John 20:5-7, tells us what John saw: And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.

We do not expect dead people to move!

The women initially thought “someone stole His body.”  The Bible records in John 20:2 Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him. The body of Jesus was missing.  The body of Christ was not where it was laid to rest.  “He is not here” is a powerful start to this announcement.

“He is Risen.”

Jesus defeated the grave.  Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:55, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” The tomb, the grave did not have power over Christ.  Jesus rose from the grave.

Jesus Defeated Death.  Death had no power over Christ.  Jesus willingly gave His life in dying on the cross for our sins.  He took our death.  Death is the penalty for sin.  The Bible says, “The wages of sin is death.”  Jesus had no sin of His own.  He took our sin upon Himself and paid the price for our sin with His life.  Jesus rose again, victorious over death.  Believer, we need not fear death.  Sometimes Christians sorrow at the moment of the death of a loved one.  If we are believers and if the loved ones were saved, we will meet again one day.  For the believer, death is compared to sleep.  Read I Thessalonians 4:13-18 for more details of this truth.

Jesus defeated Satan. For a moment, Satan may have believed he had won.  The Son of God was dead.  Satan witnessed his destructive plan unfold and then thought that he had defeated God.  Darkness fell upon the earth, Satan celebrated.  What a blow to that old serpent when “up from the grave Christ arose!”   Hebrews 2:14-15 says, Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

The penalty of sin, including the power of the grave, of death, and the power of Satan were defeated when Christ rose from the dead!  Believer, Because Jesus is alive, we are no longer in bondage to sin.  We are no longer dominated by Satan.  We are no longer doomed to death!  Jesus is alive – He gives a new life to believers!

“Come and See the Place.”

What a beautiful sight.   This author has yet to visit the tomb, but think with me about the magnitude of the moment when the stone rolled away and Jesus walked out of the tomb.  What a big event occurred in that small place outside the city of Jerusalem.  Notice with me as we look at this place through the eyes of the witnesses who were there…

The Tomb is Empty.  Jesus was not in the tomb.  When we go to the cemetery or find a tomb, we expect to find corpses, dead people, and bones in the tombs.  As we peer along with these ladies in to the tomb, there is nothing dead in there!  This tomb is a new tomb, freshly built and given to Christ by Joseph of Arimathea. No one else had ever been buried in there.  Now after the resurrection, the only evidence that it had been used was the fact that the grave clothes were still there, but there was no-body there!

As we peer into this place we realize that Salvation’s Plan is Complete.  When Mary Magdalene goes into the tomb – She sees two angels, one on each end of the place where the body of Christ was laid.   In the OT the Lord gave a covenant to the Jewish people.  They had the Law and the Tabernacle, and the Holy of Holies, and in that place the Lord gave the “Ark of the Covenant” with the Mercy seat on top of the ark.   The High Priest would go into this place once a year on behalf of the people. Exodus 30:10 describes this by stating, “And Aaron shall make an atonement upon the horns of it once in a year with the blood of the sin offering of atonements: once in the year shall he make atonement upon it throughout your generations: it is most holy unto the LORD.”

What picture the Ark of the Covenant and the Cherubim on either side looking to the mercy seat displays.  A new covenant was convened on that day.  A new testament in action based on the blood of a perfect sacrifice, the sacrifice of God the Son, Jesus Christ.  God’s plan for salvation was complete.  For the first time in History, there was no more need for perpetual, daily sacrifices.  Christ made the sacrifice – once for all!

“Go and Tell.”

Every Resurrection Season, we see “Easter Lilies” as decorations.  The Easter Lilly is called that because it is blooming and opening up in the shape of a trumpet, as if it is announcing the resurrection of Christ.  It’s a new day on the earth! What a reminder of the need to go and tell of the resurrection of the Savior. 

Go tell other people are the instructions.  The angel tells the ladies to go and tell His disciples.  They needed to know what had happened.  Then with the fact of the resurrection in their mind, they were to go and tell others.   Jesus went to the people.  What an example Jesus is for us.

Would you take a pal to Easter worship if Jonas Brothers sang?”  is the title of a  USA Today, April 3, 2010 column which said the following  “There’s an unsettling theme in recent religion news. It’s not that U.S. Christians no longer celebrate Easter but that the evangelical spirit — defined as a drive to share this “good news” — seems to be waning. Christians, it would appear, are slacking on the job and their friends’ and families” souls are on the line, church leaders say.

A Christian Research firm, The Barna Group, has identified two key problems: First, many Christians are hazy on Jesus’ resurrection. Second, even those who know this is the core message of Easter, largely don’t share this faith with others.  David Kinnaman, president of Barna, told Baptist Press:  … those who celebrate Easter because of the resurrection of Christ are not particularly likely to invite non-churched friends to worship, suggesting that their personal beliefs about Jesus have not yet translated into a sense of urgency for having spiritual conversations with their acquaintances. Barna’s survey of 1,000 adults in February found just 42% tied the meaning of Easter to Jesus’ resurrection and only 2% called this day “the most important holiday of their faith.” Of those who identified themselves as active churchgoers, less than a third (31%) said they would invite guests to Easter worship services this year.

Maybe it would help if the Jonas Brothers were headlining the worship singing. That’s the idea Rev. Rick Warren had for his California megachurch Saddleback and now its Easter celebrations Saturday night and Sunday morning at Angels Stadium are “sold out.”’

What a tragedy is found in that reportLove and Truth go together in the Bible.  We love people – but not to the neglect of truth.  We need not compromise Biblical standards to tell people about Jesus Christ.   Just as the Apostles took the message of Christ to others, we are commanded to do the same.  Every Christian ought to be a missionary where he lives.

They told them the Gospel.  Dr. James Ray went to England to share the gospel and plant churches.  He told me about how he took an ad out in the newspaper personal section. The area of the newspaper that may read like this “Man seeks woman, etc.” His ad read: “Dear John, please call me at……..”  An answering machine at the other end said:  “John I just wanted you to know that your sin separates you from God.  John you need Jesus to be forgiven of you sin…..”   Dr. Ray received over 500 calls!  Some of those men named “John” were saved!

Years ago a man commented to DL Moody that “I do not like your way of evangelizing.” To which Mr. Moody responded: “I like my way of more than your way of not evangelizing.”

Christian friend, if Christians do not testify to the fact that Jesus is alive – who will?  If believers do not go into the world and tell the lost of Christ – who will?   What is the greatest need of the following people?  The unwed mother, the hateful teen, the jealous co-worker, the teacher of evolution, the neighbors who are constantly fighting each other, the arrogant driver, and the drunk college student?  Their greatest need is Jesus Christ!

The Gospel is the message of Salvation.  God’s love and grace caused Him to demonstrate His love by sending His only begotten Son, Jesus, to die and rise again for us!   The Resurrection is the central theme of Christianity.  The Gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ! Thank the Lord that the Gospel is available to all, but applied only to those who believe.

“I, the Angel of the Lord, Have Told You.”

The Resurrection is a Miracle of God.  No resurrection has ever happened without the power of God.  Anyone who was ever really dead and came back to life did so by the power of God.  The “touch and go” that some people claim to experience is not resurrection.  Jesus was dead, in the tomb for three days.  In a future day, Satan’s Antichrist will look like he is wounded to death in an attempt to claim resurrection power.  He will try to appear as powerful as Christ to the world who witness him.  Resurrection power however, is only of God.

The Resurrection is a Message from God.  Jesus spoke to Martha, the sister of Lazarus after Lazarus had died of sudden illness.  John 11:25-26 records, Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

Based on the authority of the Word of God – God is extending salvation to you today.  He wants you to be saved today.  What would keep you from accepting the gift of eternal life.  Jesus paid the price for your sin, when He bled and died on the Cross.  Today you can trust Christ and receive salvation.  2 Corinthians 6:2  says, (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)

Today is the day, you can believe in the resurrection.  You can receive Christ by faith, and have His eternal salvation.  The greatest announcement in the world is that Jesus Christ is alive!

I enjoy the old Gospel hymn, “He Lives!”  Around 1933, Alfred Ackley, wrote these words and put them to music…

“I serve a risen Savior
He’s in the world today.
I know that He is living,
Whatever men may say.
I see His hand of mercy;
I hear His voice of cheer;
And just the time I need Him
He’s always near.”

“In all the world around me
I see His loving care,
And though my heart grows weary,
I never will despair;
I know that He is leading,
Through all the stormy blast;
The day of His appearing
Will come at last.”

“Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian,
Lift up your voice and sing
Eternal hallelujahs
To Jesus Christ the King!
The Hope of all who seek Him,
The Help of all who find,
None other is so loving,
So good and kind.”

The chorus continues, “He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way.
He lives, He lives, salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives?
He lives within my heart.”

The power in the Gospel is that Jesus rose from the dead!  Christianity is based on the fact that Jesus rose from the dead – had He not, all the preaching of the past 2000 years would have been in vain.  All the people who died for this Gospel would have died for a lost cause.  All the lives that have been touched would have been misled.  I am glad to tell you based on the authority of the Word of God, that Jesus came up out of that tomb!  Jesus is alive!

Would you be saved today?  Admit to the Lord that you are a sinner.  Believer that Jesus died on the Cross, shedding His blood for your sins.  Receive Christ as your personal savior. 

Believer, thank the Lord for the Sacrifice Christ made for you.  Thank the Lord for the salvation He has afforded you.  Ask the Lord to help the message of the resurrection to be a constant reminder of His grace, mercy, and love for you.  Be faithful to the Lord.  Find ways to share His message with others.

May the Lord bless each reader with the wonderful announcement made on that day:  He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.  And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.”  The Resurrection of Christ is the greatest announcement ever given, and it changed the world!

What Kind of King Will You Be?

What Kind of King Will You Be?

And he arose, and went into the house; and he poured the oil on his head, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I have anointed thee king over the people of the LORD, even over Israel.  2 Kings 9:6

The meaning of life is a consideration that many throughout time have pondered.  Countless hours of thought and meditation have been invested into the deep questions of life such as:

  • “What is the purpose of my life?” or
  • “Why am I here?”

After being born again, you may ask a similar question:  “Now that I am a Christian, is there something I am called of God to do or to be?”

We can learn something about our purpose from a man named Jehu.

Jehu is a man who was a captain in the Israeli Army in the Northern Kingdom.  Judah is to the South of the land and comprises the Southern Kingdom.  The Northern Tribes and Southern Tribes are divided, having separate capitols and different kings.  Jehu is a military leader of men.

We also know that Jehu liked fast chariots.   2 Kings 9:20: informs us of Jehu’s reputation, “…the driving is like the driving of Jehu the son of Nimshi; for he driveth furiously.”  Jehu was known as a fast and daring chariot driver. 

In 2 Kings 9:1-7, we find that God tells Elisha to send a messenger to anoint Jehu to be King over The Northern Kingdom.  Ahab’s son, Jehoram is on the throne, but God tells Jehu that he is to become the next king.

The messenger goes  to a place called Ramoth Giliad to accomplish this anointing.  Ramoth Giliad “is a famous city in the mountains of Gilead; often called Ramoth-Gilead, and sometimes Ramath-Mizpeh, or the Watchtower, Jos 13:26.  It belonged to Gad, was assigned to the Levites, and became one of the cities of refuge beyond Jordan, De 4:43; Jos 20:8; 21:38.  It was famous during the reigns of the later kings of Israel, and was the occasion of several wars between these princes and the kings of Damascus, who had conquered it, and from whom the kings of Israel endeavored to regain it.  Here Ahad died, Joram was wounded, and Jehu was anointed king of Israel, 1Ki 22:1-53; 2Ki 8:28,29; 9:1-14; 2Ch 22:5,6.”  (American Tract Society Dictionary)

Jehu is anointed to be the next king.  Anointing is the Hebrew word “mashach,” and it means to rub with oil, to anoint; to consecrate; and also to paint. (Strongs)

We must understand that God anoints His children for certain callings and tasks.  He then sets us apart and equips us for fulfilling His calling.

The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament paints this word “anointing” with 4 insightful colors:

  • “First, to anoint an individual or an object indicated an authorized separation for God’s service. Moses anointed Aaron “to sanctify him”
  • Secondly, though the agent might be the priest or prophet, writers speak of anointed ones as those whom the Lord anointed (e.g. 1 Samuel 10:1; 2 Samuel 12:7). Such language underscores that it is God who is the authorizing agent; that the anointed is inviolable (1 Samuel 24:8ff.); and that the anointed one is to be held in special regard (cf. 1 Samuel 26:9ff.).
  • Thirdly, one may infer that divine enablement was understood as accompanying māshaḥ. Of both Saul and David it is said in connection with their anointing that “the Spirit of God came mightily upon him” (1 Samuel 10:6ff; 1 Samuel 16:13ff.).
  • Finally, in the form māshîaḥ, māshaḥ was associated with the coming promised deliverer, Jesus. Though this association with the term māshaḥ is not as prevalent in the OT as often supposed, the prospect of a righteous, Spirit-filled ruler is increasingly discernible in the OT (cf. Isaiah 9:1-7; Isaiah 11:1-5; Isaiah 61:1).”

The questions: “What is your purpose of my life?” and “Why am I here?” take on new meaning for the Christian.  We have an anointing of God like Jehu.  We have a new purpose and mission to fulfill.

Many people today are looking for value and purpose in all the wrong places.

  • Drinking alcohol and taking drugs are not a good motivation for living.
  • Having a boyfriend or girlfriend is not something to live life for.
  • Getting a new car (chariot for Jehu) is not a goal to be consumed with.
  • Setting the DVR and recording your favorite TV program is not the purpose for your life.

Consider God’s anointing of Jehu and see how much better it is to follow the call of God in your life.

God has a greater purpose for your life!  2 Kings 9:6 

Jehu could be more than a chariot driver.  Anyone can grow up and drive a car.  A car is not a good aspiration.

Jehu could be more than a captain in the army.  Thank the Lord for the Captains in the US Army today.  We are blessed for leaders of men who can lead others to victory, even when under fire.  Men and women are called to certain vocations and positions, but arriving at a position is not the same as fulfilling it.  God had more in plans for Jehu than merely filling a title or holding down a job.

Jehu could do more than simply have a family.  A person who is not saved can have a family just as much as a Christian can have a family.  Anyone who wants a family can have one today.  Some people are called to be single, and others are called to marriage.  At any rate, the Lord wanted more from Jehu.

Jehu was called of God to do something that no other person was called to do.  Jehu was called to be the next king.  Anyone can get a car, work a job, or start a family.  Only people seeing their anointing can do more.

God has a greater plan for your life!  2 Kings 9:7

Jehu had the opportunity to fulfill the Will of God.  Ahab’s family was to be executed because of Ahab’s and Jezebel’s intense sin.  God said in Deuteronomy 32:35 “To me belongeth vengeance, and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste.”  Judgment belongs to God.

Ahab had killed many innocent people.  1 Kings 18 reveals that prophets of Jehovah were persecuted.  There verse 4 says, “For it was so, when Jezebel cut off the prophets of the LORD, that Obadiah took an hundred prophets, and hid them by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water.”  While Obadiah was trying to help God’s men, Ahab allowed his wife Jezebel to “cut off” or kill many.

Jezebel was a wicked woman.  1 Kings 21:15 says, “And it came to pass, when Jezebel heard that Naboth was stoned, and was dead, that Jezebel said to Ahab, Arise, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, which he refused to give thee for money: for Naboth is not alive, but dead.”  An innocent man is dead because a queen wanted her cowardly husband to have a piece of land that belonged to a man who refused to sell.

Jehu was able to fulfill the plan of God replacing Ahab’s descendants on the throne of the Northern Kingdom.  You and I are able to fulfill the will of God as we yield our lives to Him each day.

Jehu was able to fulfill the Word of God.  God had promised that none of Ahab’s decedents would be king in 1 Kings 21:29, “Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before me? because he humbleth himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days: but in his son’s days will I bring the evil upon his house.”

Please note:  We are not to kill people who hate God.  God calls us to serve Him with love and to show love to those around us.  People who harm others in the name of their faith are tragically mistaken.  We fulfill God’s Word in a different way in the civil society today.  Sometimes soldiers carry out God’s plan, even today.  Sometimes God uses other nations to judge others in battle, etc.

For us everyday citizens, we are to be consecrated to be used of God where we live.  We can seek to fulfill the Word of God in our lives today with prayer, witnessing, and church participation.  We can go beyond merely living a conventional life, we can live a life consecrated and set apart to the Lord.

God has a greater promise for your life! 2 Kings 10:30

The promises of God are better than the promises of the world, our flesh, or the devil.  If Jehu refused the anointing of God on his life, we would only know he liked fast chariots.  That is not much to be known for.  Sometimes when at funeral services it is sad to hear of the lifetime achievements of a person that only lived for temporal things.  The Lord has more for us than the here and now.  You can do better than being known for a nice car.

If Jehu refused God’s anointing, he would not have become King.  None of his children would have been kings.  He would have had a job in the army, a chariot, and a family, but he would not have gone on to find the promises of God.  God promised Jehu that his family would have a king on the throne for the next 4 generations.  That was God’s promise to Jehu.  God will not give you a kingdom today, but the Lord sees you as a king with great potential.

We must understand that God anoints His children for certain callings and tasks.  He then sets us apart and equips us for fulfilling His calling.

In Revelation 1:6 we discover how the Lord looks at Christians today:  “And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”  God sees you as a king!

What kind of king will you be today?  If you study Jehu’s life, he goes on to remove all the Baal worship in the Land.  He removes all of Ahab’s descendants from succession to the throne, and also executes wicked Jezebel as part of God’s judgment on Ahab and Jezebel for their extreme wickedness.

However, King Jehu does not regard God’s Word in his reign.  He does not obey the Law that the Lord had given to Moses.  Jehu allows other false gods to be worshipped and he became known as an “ungodly” king.  What a sad testimony for a man who was set apart and anointed to serve the Lord.

In light of Jehu’s life, 1 Peter 2:9-10 may take on new meaning to you: “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:  Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

What kind of king will you be today?  Be a king who fulfills the Will and Word of God.  Anyone can accomplish the temporal things of life.  You have been anointed a king.  Be more.  Be a king for the Lord.

Remembering His Life

Remembering His Life

“And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.” Mark 16:1

Another day of remembrance is here.  Every September 11, we will remember the shameful attacks on our country, the sacrifice of men and women responding to help, and the call for international action against terrorists.  It is a day our generation will never forget.

Many who lost loved ones in the attack or subsequent wars that followed will never forget.  Today we pause to remember their lives.  We remember the sacrifice, dedication, and spirit of those who gave so much.  We remember the husbands and fathers, the wives and mothers, the sons and daughters.  We remember their lives.  Some will bring flowers, others will light candles.

Despite the difficult times we have experienced as a nation, we are blessed to live in this great land of freedom.  The Lord has prospered and provided time and again for this nation.  The Christian foundation continues to guide the land, even as many are veering from the Biblical principles that the Lord has providentially blessed.  We have the opportunity to freely remember and reflect on days such as this.

Another day that we should never forget is the scene at the Garden Tomb.  The ladies who witnessed the Crucifixion never forgot the day they saw the empty tomb.

It was Sunday morning, the first day of the week when Mary, supernaturally the mother of Jesus and naturally the mother of James, Mary Magdalene, and Salome, also known as Mary the sister of Martha, along with a few others according to Luke 24:1, came to the tomb with items with which they were going to anoint the body of Christ.  He had been dead three days now.  They brought sweet spices that had a perfuming essence and quality fit for a King.  It was a gift that they brought to remember the life and death of Jesus.

Just days earlier, Jesus had been unceremoniously beaten in a courtroom, had his clothes stripped off Him, had a large cross to carry up a hill, was met with ridicule and mocking, had a crown of thorns thrust onto His head, had nails driven in His feet and hands, and was hoisted up vertically on that cross for all to see.  On that day, man attacked God in the Flesh.  Jesus willingly endured the shame and disgrace of the cross.

These ladies had watched and listened as Christ forgave his tormentors, as He cried out “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”  They saw His blood dripping as they watched Him die.  He was taken off the cross, and Joseph of Arimathea begged for His body so it could properly be buried.

Now these ladies were reflecting on the life of Christ that had touched and changed so many people.  They brought these special items to honor His life and death.  When they got to the tomb however, the door was rolled away.  Christ was not in the tomb!  The angel told them in Matthew 28:5-6: “And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.  He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.”  Look, He is not where they laid Him for He is risen from the dead!  They came to remember His life and death, but now He was alive!  Jesus is alive today!  Hundreds of eyewitnesses saw Him following His resurrection. The gifts they brought to remember the life and death of Christ were no longer needed!

Every day is a day to always remember.  Jesus at Calvary and the amazing truth of His empty tomb are events we should remember as well.   Remember the life of Christ.  He is alive today!

If you have not done so, trust Christ for your eternal salvation.  The God of eternity, Jesus, offers to you the free gift of salvation.  He gave His life so you could believe in Him and have eternal life.  Would you trust Christ today?

If you pray to Jesus in faith, He will answer your prayer for eternal life.

Pray to Him:  “Lord, I know that I am a sinner.  I believe that Jesus came to earth, lived a perfect life, and died in my place on the Cross.  He had no sin, yet He paid the price for my sin.  I believe He rose again from the dead.  Please forgive me of my sin and save my soul.”

Did you ask Christ for His forgiveness of sin and eternal salvation?  You may enjoy reading the New Testament book of First John.  This book will help you grow in your new faith in Jesus.