Can you imagine knowing that you’re going to die in four days? Can you imagine a friend betraying you for money? I can’t. No matter how hard I try. I find it difficult to imagine giving my life for the very people who would decide to murder me. I struggle with basic forgiveness. I’m so grateful that God saw fit to save a wretch like me. I’m so grateful that God’s passion does not compare to my own. This week I’m reminded of God’s sacrifice for me. I’m grateful for a debt being paid that I would have cost me my life. I’m grateful for the passion of Christ.
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Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
I think that sometimes between the ugly sweaters, the holiday parties, the Christmas lights and decor we forget about the miracle of the virgin birth. Yeah, we sing along with the Temptations as we decorate our Christmas tree and bolt out, "Christ the savior is born." But, do we truly grasp the gravity of that lyric? Do we understand that all the debates of when and where Christ was born are irrelevant. We celebrate the fact that this baby born to Mary and Joseph would grow up and die for our sins. Mary's baby boy would solve the problem Adam created. Jesus was born to die on a cross to save me, to save you, and to save the world. This Christmas, as the fireside is blazing bright, remember the real reason for the season...the birth of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
There are over 1200 instances of the word, "behold" in the bible. There are over 1200 instances of God trying to get our attention in the bible. In Genesis, God used the word, "behold" to show Adam and Eve the garden of Eden. God used the word, "behold" to establish a covenant with Abraham and Noah. John used the word, "behold" to identify Jesus as the lamb of God. What is God using to get your attention? What are you ignoring? What do you need to behold?
"But life at its best is a creative synthesis of opposites in fruitful harmony."-MLK
What does fruitful harmony among opposites look like? Is it the "American Dream" of a melting pot? Is it religious and political freedoms? Is it gun control? Is it stricter immigration laws? Is it police reform? Is it bridging the wealth gap?
MLK was assassinated 50 years ago, and I can't help but think that his America mirrors mine with very little progress. Yes, we have had some significant historical accomplishments, but we've suffered major setbacks. What does America's fruit look like? Have strange fruit on Southern trees become bullet-riddled bodies in backyards? Have we been fruitful or are we like cursed fig trees that bear no fruit? Have we been fruitful with our passions and dreams or have we buried our time, our tenth, and our talent? Have we been fruitful or are we barren?
As a kid, I never understood why "Good Friday" was called Good Friday when so much bad happened. I mean imagine being betrayed by a friend, arrested, beaten, and tried six times in two courts all to be sentenced to death for crimes you didn't commit. To add insult to injury, Jesus died to redeem the very people who deny/denied, reject/ rejected, and betray/betrayed him. My God. Jesus did something that has had an everlasting effect. His death and resurrection are celebrated on the first Sunday following the first ecclesiastical full moon that occurs on or after the day of the vernal equinox every year. Every year, stores are filled with bunnies and eggs that have absolutely nothing to do with Christ's resurrection. Every year, non-church goers flood the pews to hear sermons of how Jesus died for our sins on an old rugged cross. Every year, I am reminded of an Everlasting God with an Everlasting love whose sacrifice opened redemption's door to Everlasting life. Happy Good Friday! Happy Passion Week! Happy Easter!
1. dexterous; nimble; skillful; clever
David was a shepherd, a musician, a warrior and a king. Joseph and Jesus were carpenters. Peter was a fisherman. Matthew was a tax collector. Nehemiah was a cupbearer. They all had jobs. However, their jobs didn't define them. Their jobs were only a conduit to their destiny. What's your skill? Do you have deft hands? Are you good with numbers? Can you remember things? Are you a good writer? Do you have the voice of an angel or beautiful mind? What is that thing about you that makes you different? What is your God-given strength? What makes you deft?
“You'll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You'll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life's a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left.” – From "Oh, the Places You'll Go!" by Dr. Seuss
One of my favorite Christmas songs is Go Tell it on the Mountain. When I sang in the children's choir, I remember trying my hardest to be the loudest to sing that part. I wanted everyone to know that I knew the words, and I was excited about singing that song. I'm sure it was comic relief for all those who sat in the audience every year for those Christmas programs. I know that I sit back and chuckle at children just like me at all the Christmas recitals. I believed, and I professed. It was just that easy. Over time, my voice has gotten quieter. My light has gotten dimmer, and my profession has gotten weaker. Why? Do I not still believe? Of course, I do...but I've allowed life to happen, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. This Christmas season we need to let our light shine. We need to Go Tell it on the Mountain. We need to profess.