Jesus

Freedom Comes

Freedom comes not in doing whatever we so desire, for we can never be free from the consequences of our decisions. Freedom comes in knowing whose we are and why we’re here, and in living to fulfill the GOOD things our Creator has planned for us.

 

Photo Credit: Mountain Road Sunset Free Stock Photo – Public Domain Pictures

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One Day

One day, whether here on earth or in the glory of heaven, we will see. God, the master designer, weaves good from every thread of pain wrought on this earth. That’s what makes him God.

 

Photo Credit: File:Colorful Threads (3965274345).jpg – Wikimedia Commons

Why Do You Look for the Living Among the Dead?

Empty Tomb from CrossCardsWhen hope dies, it’s hard to believe life can prevail.  We remain at the burial site—gazing upon what we’ve lost, unaware that something greater is destined to arise from the ashes.  Helen Keller once said, “When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.”  When Jesus died on the cross, those who had followed him closely were unaware that His death was only the opening of a greater door in which God was about to do “exceedingly abundantly above all that [they could] ask or think” (Eph 3:20).

The women who witnessed the miraculous were met with the question, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” (Luke 24:5). They earnestly came to Jesus’ disciples with news of the empty tomb, only to be met with disbelief.  It was as if they had come to a tomb of another kind—where hope itself was permanently laid to rest.  The disciples who’d walked with Jesus from the beginning of His ministry had mistakenly believed He’d come to set up an earthly kingdom.  He had been their hope of liberation from oppressive governmental and religious systems—a political Messiah.

When He died on the cross, their dreams died with Him; when they buried Him in the tomb, they buried their aspirations as well.  They did not understand Jesus’ destiny of suffering, predictions of death or promises of resurrection. They didn’t understand He had far greater things for them, an everlasting hope.

Many times we find ourselves in what appears to be a hopeless situation—a graveyard of disenchantment, surrounded by death.  Life has disappointed us; we have disappointed ourselves.  It seems that God has abandoned us to the grave.  We cry out for hope, but Heaven is as brass.  Alone in a graveyard of doubt and defeat, it seems that the promise of resurrection was nothing more than an illusion.

Yet it is when we have come to the end of ourselves that we are on the verge of finding true life.  When things seem most hopeless, we are closer to a breakthrough than ever before.  Why?  Because we finally come to realize that the things we were hoping in were not worthy of our trust to begin with.  They were incapable of sustaining us or providing the life we were looking for.  We finally seal false hope in a tomb—never to be revisited.  This is the beginning of resurrection.

When find ourselves at the entrance to life’s tombs, we have not come to a place of death:  we have instead arrived at the door that leads to everlasting life and hope.  Jesus’ death on the cross is an invitation to die to all our unworthy expectations.  His resurrection is an invitation to find hope that will never die.

A Now Event

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Change is not some obscure future event. It’s a NOW event. And we don’t have to wait for another countdown.

 

Photo Credit: Alpine – Free images on Pixabay

Five, four, three, two…

Blog_NewYears_TimePassingThe countdown has begun. Even before the Christmas décor was transferred to the clearance shelves, New Years items decked the aisles not far from Valentine’s displays, reminding us we have only a few days left to procrastinate on our resolutions. As the clock swiftly ticks away second after second, we down the last of our holiday sweets knowing it’s a matter of time before we trade the chocolate box for a gym membership.

Just the other day, I came across an ad for a decadent triple-chocolate cheesecake across from another ad for a miracle weight-loss program. Yeah, it’ll take a miracle to lose the pounds gained from eating a slice of that cheesecake before the next New Year. That is, IF I choose the miracle weight-loss program. OR any weight-loss program that takes me beyond the newness-inspired first month of the year.

But maybe there’s another option. Maybe I could choose to change today. Except, of course, that would mean resisting the urge to eat the whole cheesecake.

Actually, I don’t care much for cheesecake, though there are plenty other calorie-filled temptations out there to lure me away from a good resolution. But the whole thing has me thinking…why do we always procrastinate when it comes to change? We’re always waiting for the clean slate of tomorrow, or next week, or a new year.

What difference would it make to know that change is possible today, and every day, and every minute of the day? And that change doesn’t only have to do with shedding a few New Years pounds. Change is possible in the most impossible of circumstances, the most stubborn of habits.

I think of the story of a man named Zaccheus—a tax collector in Bible times who’d devoted his life to cheating people of their hard-earned money. Until, that is, an encounter with Jesus changed it all. His heart was so deeply transformed he gave half his possessions to the poor and refunded four times what he’d stolen. He didn’t wait for another day or a new year. The moment he was prompted to change, he repented.

That’s the GOOD NEWS. Change is not some obscure future event. It’s a NOW event. And we don’t have to wait for another countdown.

The Old Has Gone

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“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

 

Photo Credit: Spring Flower And Snow Free Stock Photo – Public Domain Pictures

The Gift

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“For who has ever given to God, that God should repay them? For from Him and through Him and for Him are all things. To Him be glory forever! Amen.” (Romans 11:35-36)

 

Photo Credit: Free photo: Christmas, Candles, Bill – Free Image on Pixabay – 1522176