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Sunday, March 27, 2016

He Is Risen!

English: Resurrection of Christ
English: Resurrection of Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
What if Jesus had not risen from the grave as He said He would? Where would we be? I don't want to think about it. But He is risen and is alive with the Father in heaven and one day He is coming back to take us to live with Him. That is the hope of Easter and the basis of the Christian faith.

But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all died, even so in Christ shall all be made alive" (1 Corinthians 15: 20 - 22).

And so the journey to Calvary has ended. Jesus has been crucified, but now He is risen, as He said. And we too are alive in Him. The empty tomb is a silent witness to the greatest event in history. We don't worship someone who died thousands of years ago, but Someone who is alive.

Happy Easter!

Friday, March 25, 2016

It Is Good Friday

I was probably eight or nine the first time I read the account of Jesus's crucifixion. Good Friday had always been a solemn occasion at our house with my mother cooking a special fish dinner and my father reading the Bible. By teaching me to read and reading the Bible and other story books to me, my mother had instilled in me a love for reading from an early age. So that year when she opened the Bible to the book of Luke and told me to read the story of the crucifixion, I didn't hesitate. But as I read, I became more and more anxious and by the time I got to the part where they crucified Jesus, tears were streaming down my face. It's not Good Friday, I thought in childlike disappointment, it should be called Bad Friday.

Jesus died. How could He? Why did He?

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3: 16).

And that's why the day He died on the cross is called Good Friday. Because on that day, we, the lost and fallen human race, were redeemed, forgiven and restored to our rightful place with God the Father.

Are you in your rightful place? Have you been redeemed, restored and forgiven? If not, Jesus's arms are still outstretched, waiting to welcome you in. But you must ask. Do like one of the thieves who hung on a cross beside Jesus.

He turned to Him and said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 3: 42 - 43).

Just like that the man was saved. Jesus didn't say, "I'm in too much pain, I can't think about that right now." Or, "You are a bad man. I'm not sure if you should go to heaven."

No, He said, "Today." And He will say to you too, "Today," if you ask Him right now.

And if you haven't yet, don't forget to download a copy of my award-winning story on Amazon Kindle, For God So Loved. I'm sure it will bless your heart.
Just click on the image below.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Lenten Reflections cont'd

In my last post, I wrote about the opportunity we have to draw nearer to God during this Lenten season. If ever we needed God it is now. I believe it is no accident that Easter comes during the season of spring, at least in the northern hemisphere. Spring is a time of new beginnings, therefore what better time to begin a new life in Christ or recommit our lives to Him than during this Easter season.

Some questions we may reflect on are:

1. What does God require of me as a Christian?

"And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this , Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these" (Mark 12: 30 - 31).

 2. How can I demonstrate God's love in my dealings with others?

Many of us will readily admit that we love the Lord, but how about our neighbor? When was the last time we spoke to them, smiled or offered to help them in some way? Other scriptures you may want to reflect on: Matthew 22: 37 - 39; Luke 10: 27; John 13: 34; 1 Corinthians 13 : 3. 

But love ye your enemies, and do good , and lend , hoping for nothing again ; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: (Luke 6: 35).

 On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head” (Romans 12: 20)
On the cross, Jesus forgave the Roman soldiers who crucified Him. He also forgave the thief who hung next to him.  

3. How can I fulfill the great commission?

The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said,Feed my sheep" (John 21: 17). 

 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24: 14).

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 28: 19).

Jesus's last command to us before leaving this earth was for us to go and make disciples of all nations. Not all of us will be able to travel extensively to spread the gospel like Paul and some of the other disciples did. In fact, we don't have to leave our little neck of the woods to tell others about Jesus Christ. We can begin right where we are.

Today marks the beginning of Holy week. As we pray and reflect this week, I trust that you will keep some of these questions in mind along with those the Holy Spirit lays on your heart. To help you in your reflections this Lenten season, I have written a little book that won an honorable mention on Writer's Digest. I trust that you will be blessed by it.


Saturday, March 12, 2016

Lenten Reflections

During the season of Lent, which began on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter Sunday, many people change their eating habits. Some may
give up sweets or meat, while others may engage in some form of fasting. All of this may carry some benefits, but I think for Christians the Lenten season should be more than another opportunity to become a vegan or to lose weight.

Why observe Lent?

The forty days leading up to Easter are an opportune time for prayer and fasting and drawing closer to God. It is a time when we remember the great sacrifice that Jesus made on our behalf. He left His splendid home in heaven and came down to earth to die on a cruel Roman cross so that we could spend eternity with Him in heaven. Just thinking about it is enough to make us give up all of our bad habits and re-dedicate our lives to Him. Lent is a time when we attempt to empty ourselves and come bare before the cross to find cleansing and healing. As Jesus suffered and died on Calvary, so we too should be willing to suffer and die (to self) with Him.

Lent should be a period of austerity that prepares us for the grand celebration of Easter. This is the day we commemorate Jesus' resurrection from the dead. Contrary to what some religions teach, Jesus literally died on the cross and He literally rose from the grave on Easter Sunday morning (Matthew 28: 1 - 10).

What should we reflect on during Lent?

Our Lord taught us many lessons while He was here on earth, but during the brief period from His arrest to His crucifixion and resurrection, He showed us many examples that we should follow if we are to be His disciples.

Lenten reflections will continue next week.

If you and your family are looking for cards, gifts and decor to celebrate the Easter season, why not check out the link below? There is something for everyone.

Sunday, March 06, 2016

Let's Have A Blast

Recently, I overheard a preacher on radio announcing his upcoming event. He ended with the words, "It's going to be a blast." I suppose there's nothing wrong with "having a blast" at a Christian conference. After all, the Bible does tell us to "rejoice in the Lord and be glad," Psalm 32: 11, but as I thought about it I couldn't help comparing what he said to the election campaigns being run here in America. Everyone seems to be having a blast - especially the candidates. And the media, not to be outdone, gleefully bring us a blow by blow account of the latest sensational sayings of so-and-so.

Is this what running for office has come down to? A blast? Forget about ISIS, the refugee crisis, gun violence, escalating drug addiction and our broken healthcare system.That's nasty business. No one wants to talk about that. Instead, let's call each other names and compare hand size and while we're at it, why not have a pie-throwing contest?

I am currently studying the book of 1 Kings. That book is an eye-opener. It traces the source of the people's problems or their successes straight back to their kings. When a good king reigned, the people prospered, when a bad king reigned, the people suffered.

Psalm 33: 12 says,  Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance. 

 Is God our Lord in America, or are we simply having a blast? Let's think about that as we prepare to choose another 'king.'