Jesus Paid it All

8 04 2018

I was going to post these as two separate posts. I then realized they go hand-in-hand, and, to me at least, seem to work well together as a single post.


This morning I read from Ezra 3:3, “And they set the altar upon his bases; for fear was upon them because of the people of those countries: and they offered burnt offerings thereon unto the Lord, even burnt offerings morning and evening.” (KJV)


God’s children, about 50,000 strong, had just returned to Jerusalem after having been released from 70 years of captivity in Babylon. The surrounding community was filled with a hodgepodge of people whom the Israelites feared. But, they had learned to trust in God. So, the first thing they did upon their return to Jerusalem was not to build fortifications or defenses, but instead, they built an altar so they could immediately begin to worship God. But notice what the passage says…”and they offered burnt offerings thereon unto the Lord, even burnt offerings morning and evening.”


Burnt offerings were offerings of atonement. Before the Crucifixion, believers sought forgiveness by burning a sacrificial animal, such as a lamb. The offerings were in recognition of their sin and the aromatic smoke rising skyward was symbolic of lifting those sins to God. Because Jesus took our sins upon Himself and was crucified, we are no longer required to offer animal sacrifices. Instead, we can go straight to Him and simply ask for forgiveness.


When I read this passage, the first thought that came to mind was Luke 9:23. This is where Jesus tells us that if we want to follow Him, we have to take up our cross daily and follow Him. In other words…every single day…not just on Sunday morning. Every day we have to fight off the temptations of a worldly life and try to live like Jesus. We need to ask God to forgive us of our sins, such as when you called in sick to stay home and watch March Madness (Thou shalt not lie); or when you failed to give God credit for all the good things that have happened to you or your accomplishments. These are blessings and all good things come from above. Or, when you were disrespectful to your spouse, your child, your parent, etc.


Living by Faith

That brings me to one of my favorite scripture passages, which comes from Galatians 2:20, “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.” (KJV)


When you stop and break it down, you can see that verse packs an awful lot into a single sentence.


When Jesus went to the cross, in His 33rd year on earth, He had not committed a single sin; but, then, a miracle occurred. Jesus took the sins of the world upon Himself; and, when He died on the cross, the sins of the world died with him. That’s not to say there would be no more sin. That is saying that He paid the penalty for the sins we commit even today. Then, three days after He was crucified, He rose from death. He had a new body; one which had been cleansed of the sins He bore.


In the same way, when we accept Christ as our personal Savior, that is our crucifixion-our old lives die and we are raised to a new life to walk with God in faith. Through the Holy Spirit, He indwells us as we live a life based on faith in Him.


Remember to go to Christ every day to ask for forgiveness, guidance and strength to resist the temptations of a worldly and sinful life.


Satan’s Puppets

16 04 2017

The chief priests, elders and scribes who conspired against Jesus and delivered Him to the Cross; the Roman soldiers who mocked, beat and nailed Him there; and, the citizens who demanded His crucifixion were all unwitting participants in an event that would affect mankind for eternity.  In spite of having been eyewitness to many of Jesus’ miraculous works, they defiantly refused to believe He was indeed the Messiah and the Son of God. Rather, they felt Jesus was a threat to their power and beliefs. But, during His short mortal life, Jesus made it clear He had come to save when He said, “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” John 3:17. Jesus’ death was part of God’s plan of salvation.


Jesus also made clear the path to that eternal life when He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6.


Sadly, many today do not believe Jesus is the Son of God, nor do they appreciate what Jesus endured on that day on our behalf. Many are as blind and clueless as those who murdered Jesus and do not realize the harm they are causing or the destructive road they are following. University professors, the ultra-biased media, non-believing celebrities, corrupt politicians, and others who use their platform to spread their secular agenda, striving to remove all traces of Christianity from our lives, are unknowingly serving as pawns of Satan. It is one thing to espouse an opinion; but to openly, or subliminally, deliver evil is a fulfillment of Scripture and their followers will follow them to an eternal hell.  


God’s plan hasn’t changed. Jesus will return, but not riding on a donkey as He had done on what we now know as Good Friday. Instead, He will be as a warrior returning to defeat Satan and all evil. Those who have not accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior will not be saved from damnation.


Because of His suffering, we now have been given the greatest gift possible-eternal life. It’s right there like an apple on a low-hanging branch. All we have to do is grab it. Confess your sins and accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior. It’s that simple. Unfortunately, many will continue to ignore His call.


The Big Picture

3 04 2016

Have you ever prayed for something, and didn’t get it? Have you ever prayed for someone to be healed, only to watch them die? How many times have you heard the preacher say to ask, and it shall be given to you? He was quoting Matthew 7:7, in which Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”

Several years ago, a young lady, who only a few years earlier had been a student in my sixth grade Sunday school class, gave birth to a beautiful little girl whom she named Cadence. However, Cadence was born with the rare birth defect, gastroschisis, in which the stomach and bowel are formed on the outside of the baby’s belly. Everyone at our church prayed for Cadence. Friends and co-workers of church members prayed. As I traveled the country on business, I wore a button with Cadence’s picture on it. People would see her sweet, smiling face on the button and ask about her; thus, opening the door for me to share her story. I had clients from North Carolina to California praying for Cadence. Flight attendants gave me cash or wrote unsolicited checks to donate toward her medical expenses and told me they would pray for her. There were thousands of people praying for Cadence but, sadly, she never recovered. Cadence passed away only nine days before her first birthday. Doesn’t that contradict Matthew 7:7? We asked but we weren’t given.


We all prayed that God would allow Cadence to live, and we were all disappointed. We later prayed to thank Him for the year He allowed her to be with us, for during her 356 days of life, Cadence brought a lot of joy to a lot of people. Many non-believers might point to Cadence’s death as proof that God doesn’t exist; or, if He does exist, He ignores our prayers. My daddy didn’t tell me the reason behind his decisions every time he told me I couldn’t do something, but he had a reason. He knew more as an adult than I did as a child. Likewise, God has a reason for the things He does and we don’t always know or understand His reasoning.


On the night before He was crucified, Jesus prayed these words, “Abba, Father, everything is possible for You. Take this cup from Me. Yet not what I will, but what You will.” If God didn’t answer Jesus’ prayer, why should He answer ours?


The Bigger Picture

Jesus knew the horror of the crucifixion. He knew what was just hours away and the great suffering He would soon have to endure. He didn’t want to do it, and would have liked to have had a way out, but He knew, too, that there was a bigger picture. Someone would have to pay for the sins of mankind, and He was willing to sacrifice His own life so we wouldn’t have to. He saw the big picture. So, actually, God did answer Jesus’ prayer. Jesus prayed for God’s will and His prayer was answered.


We aren’t God, and we don’t always see the big picture, or know what God has in mind, and why He works as He does. But, there is a bigger picture. Just as Jesus did, we should pray for God’s will in all things and then rely on His wisdom. Yes, pray for specifics. Pray for healing for friends. But don’t be surprised if you find your prayer answered in a different way than you expect. After all, if He loved us enough to die for us, He certainly loves us enough to take care of us.


As for Cadence, I like the way my good friend, Lollibells the clown,  put it when she would encounter the death of a small child during her ministry to seriously ill children. She would say, “Daddy God wanted some beautiful flowers for His garden so He picked Cadence.” God has answered our prayers for Cadence…we just haven’t seen the big picture yet.

The Stone

23 05 2013

The Jewish leaders had heard of Jesus’ promise to rise from death, but since they refused to accept Him as the long awaited Messiah, they didn’t believe Him. Instead, they feared some of His followers might take the body and claim Jesus had fulfilled His promise and, indeed, had risen. For that reason, they sealed the tomb by having a large stone rolled in front of the opening. I can just see them in their arrogant, self-pious pride thinking they had foiled the plot of Jesus’ followers. If they had any idea who he was, they probably would have said something like, “Even Houdini can’t get out of there.”easter

Boy were they in for a surprise! Sure enough, when Mary Magdalene, along with several other women, came along early Sunday morning, the stone had been moved to expose the opening. And as promised, Jesus was no longer inside the tomb.

Now, flip the calendar forward a few pages to the year 2013. It’s a natural assumption for us to think Jesus moved the stone so He could get out of the tomb, but that wasn’t the case. There were a couple of angels inside the tomb when Mary Magdalene looked inside. They are probably the ones who moved the stone, but not so Jesus could get out. He could have easily gotten out with the stone in place. No, the stone was moved so others could get inside to see He was not there. He had risen just as He said He would. Had the stone been left in place, no one would have been able to see inside. No one would have been able to see the fulfillment of prophecy. No one would have been able to see the glory of the resurrection and the single greatest moment in the history of the world. Instead, everyone would have assumed Jesus’ body, like anyone else’s, would lie in the tomb until it returned to dust. Can you say Schrodiger’s cat?

Sadly, for a great many people, that stone still sits in the mouth of the tomb. They are unable to see that the Lord has risen. They can’t know God because they won’t accept the resurrection. Look around your obsessions long enough to see the tomb is empty. Jesus isn’t there. Instead, He is among us in the form of the Holy Spirit.

I know, that sounds awfully preachy and you’re thinking I’m going to ask you to stand up and sing Hymn No. 313. In the Free Will Baptist Hymnal that was “Just As I Am”. Growing up, that was our closing hymn EVERY Sunday. Well, I’m no preacher and we aren’t going to sing. I’m just a guy who enjoys writing and have, like you, been charged with the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19). This is my small contribution. Now, look inside the tomb and know that Christ is near. empty-tomb-copy

Easter-The Truth

31 03 2013

I wonder what would have happened if main stream media had been around to report the events that took place at Jesus’ crucifixion. Here is how I believe it might have been reported.crucifixion-top-view

“Good evening and welcome to the RBS evening news. I am Dan reporting to you tonight from our studio in Rome.”

“Our top story this evening comes from Judea and the City of Jerusalem where Roman soldiers have executed a man, who for about three years now, has been going around claiming to be the Son of God. With that story, we switch you over to Sarah, reporting from our RBS affiliate in Jerusalem.”

[Sarah] “Thank you, Dan. This is Sarah reporting to you live from Jerusalem where we have just witnessed an interesting chain of events, including the execution of a man known as Jesus. He is considered by many to be a rabble-rouser, claiming to be the Messiah, whom the Jews have predicted for hundreds of years will come, but strangely enough, had turned on him just within the past 24 hours. As near as we can tell, this man hasn’t violated any Roman laws, but has been found guilty on a number of charges under Jewish law; and, around the third hour, that’s 9 A.M. local time, they nailed him to a cross, along with two other criminals. Most of the crowd, which had gathered earlier, has dispersed; but, there are a few people still hanging around. I’m going to see if I can get up the hill and closer to the execution site and speak with some of the eye witnesses.”

“Sir, excuse me, I’m Sarah from RBS News, and I wonder if I could get a word from you about what you have witnessed this morning.”

[Witness] “No.”

[Sarah] “Well, Dan, obviously that man doesn’t want to speak with us and that’s understandable because there is a widespread fear among those who knew and followed this man that they might also be executed just because of their association with him. He was considered to be a polarizing figure.”

[Dan] “Sarah, you have been following this man for some time and probably know him as well as anyone. What can you tell us about him?”

[Sarah] “Well, Dan, what I can say is that he was an enigma. He claimed to be the Son of God and was constantly performing what many would consider miracles, but these things were so far out there… he must have been a charlatan.”

“He was best known for what many considered to be his acts of kindness. Hardly a day went by that he didn’t heal, or at least present the appearance of healing, someone. His problem was that he did this on the Sabbath, and that was his undoing, since this is against Jewish law. He was also very soft-spoken and loved children. This in itself has raised suspicions among many and some have speculated he may have even been a pedophile.”

[Dan] “Sarah, you sound skeptical regarding his ability to do some of these things.”

[Sarah] “Well, Dan, as you know, I’ve been on this beat a long time and I’ve seen some pretty strange things-things that are far too hard to believe. I saw this man distribute two fish and a couple of loaves of bread to satisfy the hunger of over 5,000 people. I saw this man, Jesus, tell a dead man to get up, and the man got up and walked away. Now, I take pride in my open-mindedness, but that was a little too much for even me to believe. A dead man? C’mon. You know, these Jews, especially those who followed this man Jesus, are notorious for tall tales. It reminds you of some of those old nursery rhymes they tell their children. Things like;

Moses, Moses raised his staff
and split the rolling sea in half.
And when the Jews were safely across
The sea closed in and the Egyptians were lost.”

“Or there is this one that has always been a child-favorite:

David was small but David was strong
And then one day a giant came along
And with his sling he threw a rock
Which killed that giant on the spot.”

“And just another example of their attempt to defraud is occurring at this very moment, Dan. It was right around noon when the sky grew as dark as night. It’s been that way now for about an hour and we don’t know how much longer it will go on; but many of those who were loyal to this man are claiming it is the work of God. It’s very similar, Dan, to that event that occurred over in Greece several years ago. I believe they called that a solar eclipse. I’m sure that’s what this is and it is completely unrelated to the execution that has occurred here today.”

“Dan, this man seemed harmless enough, but he was an instigator who wanted to change our way of life. It appears he was no more than a really good magician who wanted to grow the church, and this world will be better off without him. Some among the crowd that had gathered to view the execution have even said this man will rise from death in 3 days. Well, I plan to hang around just to see what happens. If he does, then surely that will be another of his parlor tricks and I plan to be here to report it.”

“I feel it is safe to say that his death will mark the end of this growing church movement and his so-called religion, and we can all return to life as usual. This is Sarah reporting from Jerusalem. Back to you, Dan.”

Reporting the Truth
Jesus, of course was the Son of God, in the flesh. He came to share the Good News but He came primarily, to serve as a sacrifice and with His life to pay our debt of sin. Thanks to Jesus’ sacrifice, all we have to do is accept Him and ask for forgiveness.

The single greatest moment man has ever known!

The single greatest moment man has ever known!

Today, Easter, is the greatest day in the history of mankind yet there are those who refuse to believe the things that took place. If Jesus never walked out of the tomb then this world is the best any of us could ever hope for. But He did, and for that reason, we have the opportunity to have eternal life. But there are many who not only refuse to believe but also want to kill the spread of the Good News of Christ. When you watch mainstream news or read your local newspaper, you are getting the information the way that reporter and that editor want you to get it, often tilted toward their own personal views and biases. Responsible journalism is accurate and unbiased. This seems to be a thing of the past. Pray for those who refuse to believe the story of Jesus. Pray for those who wish to ignore the wishes of Christians in their attempts to remove anything God-like from our lives in the name of political correctness. God warned us throughout Scripture about false teachers and false teachings. You can see it every day in the newspaper and on the evening news. The real truth is found in the Word.


31 03 2012

The nail. So small. So simple, yet so versatile and powerful. A single nail can transform a room when you use it to hang the family portrait. A single nail can quiet a room when used to stabilize a squeaky floor board. With 12,000 nails you can build a house. With a billion nails you can build a city. We see the nail as a symbol of construction. It is used to build. Once a commodity of great value, the nail, today, has little value until you find yourself one nail short at the end of a project. Two thousand years ago the nail was used as a tool of death. Those who refused to believe that Jesus was not who He claimed to be, the long-awaited Messiah, used the nail for destruction as they tried to destroy Jesus and His ministry.

The Cross. The single most important symbol of Christianity. Like the nail, the Cross on which Jesus was crucified was, at the time, a symbol of death. Crucifixion was a common form of public execution in which the victim was tied or nailed to a cross and left to die a slow, agonizing death.

Tomb is defined as a place of internment; an excavation in which a corpse is buried. The tomb is clearly a symbol of death. The end of life.

The irony is, that because of the power of God, all three represent life…new life. Each represents victory over death. The day Jesus rose from the dead and walked out of the tomb was the beginning of new life for those who accept Him as Savior.

The nail, the cross, the tomb…daily reminders that this world doesn’t have to be our final destination. Without Jesus’ death and resurrection this world would be the best any of us could ever hope for; but, thanks to the cross, we, who have made Jesus Lord of our lives, have an eternal future in heaven with the Savior of the world. Who would have ever thought that just three nails could save humanity?

The single greatest moment the world has ever known.