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Saturday, April 30, 2011

In The Midst Of Celebration

If you live on this planet, you would no doubt have been aware of or be caught up in the excitement and awe of the Royal nuptials of Prince William and Kate Middleton. I'm sure everyone would agree, no one does Royal weddings like the Brits. As I watched the newly- wed couple ride off in the royal carriage, escorted by dancing white horses and ninettenth-century attired horsemen, I felt transported into a wonderland.

However, at the back of my mind was the devastation that had taken place two days earlier in the southern United States, my state, Georgia, among them. The news networks kept interrupting their coverage of the royal wedding to show scenes of the destruction and of the president touring the disaster area in Alabama.

As I pondered on these things, this verse popped into my mind: "For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child ; and they shall not escape" (1 Thessalonians 5:3). In this case it wasn't all that sudden. The news stations had been issuing warnings days before. Even nature seemed to be preparing us. The storms began during the day, then quieted down, something which the meteorologists called "a warm up" for what was to come. So we did have time to escape. And yet, hundreds of people died.

The Bible tells us, "For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night" (1 Thessalonians 5: 2). This verse calls on us to prepare ourselves because no one knows the day nor the hour when Jesus will return. In the case of tornadoes and hurricanes we do get some warning, but it's not always easy to save ourselves. This must have been the case of those unfortunate ones who perished a few days ago. However, we can prepare ourselves for the coming of Our Lord. We should not be so caught up in the things of the world that we leave ourselves open to eternal destruction.

In our age of information overload, the gospel has not been left out, but some of us remain in our stubborneness and will not heed the warnings we're being given.  President Obama, during his tour of the stricken areas in Alabama, said he'd never seen such devastation. Well, there's a devastation far greater that will come upon the earth when Jesus returns. Those of us who are ready will celebrate, but for those who are not "There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out" (Luke 13: 28).  Now where do you want to be? In the midst of a celebration or a destruction?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

Jesus resurrected and Mary MagdaleneImage via Wikipedia
This Easter Sunday morning millions of people all over the world will gather to celebrate the astounding event that took place over two thousand years ago when a Man called Jesus raised up from the dead, folded His grave clothes neatly and got out of the tomb! My hair grows just thinking about it! The crowd saw the soldiers nail His hands and feet to the cross, suspend Him between earth and heaven, heard His ragged cries and saw Him breathe His last. Yet, three days later, "He had risen, just as He said" (Matthew 28 : 6).

A time of miracles

So what does Easter mean to those of us who believe? It means a time of miracles. By His resurrection, Jesus performed His greatest miracle ever, bringing down the curtain on His extraordinary performance here on earth. If Jesus could raise Himself from the dead, He can raise you up from death to life. I'm not speaking of physical death, although He can do that too, but spiritual death - the one that separates you from God and keeps you from being all that you were created to be.

A new beginning

As He drew the curtain on His life here on earth, Jesus was preparing for a new chapter with His Father in heaven. God "exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth" (Philippians 2: 9-10).  Jesus' work was by no means finished. He would now ascend to heaven to be once more with His Father, interceding for us until the time comes for Him to return to earth.

A time of triumph

Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday was nothing compared to His triumph on Easter Sunday morning. By His resurrection, Jesus "destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel" (2 Timothy 1: 10). Not only did he destroy death, but by "His death he might destroy him who holds the power of death--that is, the devil--" (Hebrews 2 : 14). Jesus also overcame hell. "I am he that liveth , and was dead; and, behold , I am alive for evermore , Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death" (Revelation 1 : 18). 

So what does all this mean to us? It means because of Easter we have hope, victory and newness of life. We know that He who was crucified is now alive and well, and He is seated at the right hand of God the Father, making intercession for us. We know that we do not have to fear death, or the devil, because Jesus has overcome them both, and in Him we have eternal life. In Him everything has been made new. "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away ; behold , all things are become new" (2 Corinthians 5 : 17). Have a blessed Easter.

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Friday, April 22, 2011

Let's Be Crucified

It is FinishedImage by abcdz2000 via FlickrToday is Good Friday! I remember when I was a child wondering why this day was called Good Friday when such a horrible thing as Jesus' crucifixion occurred on that day. But as I grew older I realized that it was actually a good thing because Jesus had to die in order that I might live. And so in my prayers this morning I asked God to help me crucify myself and all those things in me that need to be crucified: My stubborn will, my thoughts, my fears, hopes, dreams, desires.

It's only by crucifying, by dying to these things that we can live the abundant life that God intends us to live. The Bible says, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live ; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me" (Galatians 2:20.)

As we celebrate the death of Our Savior Jesus Christ, let us be one with Him today in His sufferings so we can share in His victory. For that is what the cross represents, not a thing of shame, but of power and love and triumph. God bless you and have a wonderful Good Friday.
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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Modesty In Dress cont'd

Former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice ...Image via WikipediaTwo things led me to pursue this subject: One was a sermon I heard on the radio while driving to work in which the pastor thundered about the need for women to dress modestly in church. The other had to do with the increasingly warm days we've been having here in the south. As the days get warmer, the clothes tend to get skimpier even in church, so I thought I would pose this question to an online community I belong to. Do you think women should wear shorts to church?

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Modesty In Dress

Cover of "Royal Wedding"Cover of Royal WeddingLast week while driving to work I listened to a series on the above topic in which the pastor thundered about the need for women to dress modestly in church. The pastor reasoned that if women knew what goes through men's minds they would be more careful when putting their wardrobe, particularly their church wardrobe, together.