Posts Tagged ‘death’

Darkness is a strange thing. It isn’t really something in and of itself. It is actually the absence of something. It is the absence of Light. When it comes to spiritual matters, light represents the Presence of God. In fact the apostle John wrote, “God is Light.” (I John 1:5)
We discover in the Revelation that there is no need for the sun or the stars in heaven because God’s Presence is the light.

Throughout the Bible, darkness spiritually portrays people who are far from God. It represents the condition of “lostness”, absolute separation from God. More significantly, even than that, it portrays “deadness”. People who are far from God, not only dwell in darkness spiritually, they are absolutely DEAD. There is no real life. “The wages of sin is death,” God’s Word declares.

Jesus proclaimed, “I am the light of the world.” The Gospel of John says, “In Him (Christ) was life, and the life was the light of men; and the light shines in the darkness . . .”
God gave His only Begotten Son, Jesus the Christ, to bring the light of life into our darkness.

While among us physically, Jesus proclaimed His followers, “You are the light of the world.” He entrusted that light of life from God to us, His people. And He called us to let our light shine before men. To place our light in the candlestick so that others might see. Throughout our world today there are great pockets of darkness. There doesn’t need to be, but there is. There are nearly a billion people who have no access to the Gospel of Christ at all. There is no known effort by any evangelical church or group to reach out to and evangelize, make disciples, or plant churches among nearly 3100 different identified people groups.

God has called us, you and me to chase the darkness. He has called us to carry the light of truth in the Gospel message to the dark pockets all around our globe. There is no reason with the resources and technology available to us in the 21st century that we cannot eliminate the darkness. There will always be people who live in darkness, God’s Word says some prefer darkness because their deeds are evil. But there should not be any pockets of darkness on our planet because no one has shared the Gospel. Chase the darkness. Make a difference.5578299322_14502cc7d7_z

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This morning I have sat and reflected some on what today means. I am keenly aware that a little over 2000 years ago today, Jesus Christ died on a cross in my place. I have watched some clips from the movie “The Passion,” which portrays the physical suffering of Christ in my place. But I also realize that I can not comprehend the tremendous price He paid in being forsaken by the Father. I know it is all because of His love.

What can it mean that God forsakes God? Martin Luther once said, “No man can understand that.” Much of the events of the day remain a mystery because we are limited in our finite comprehension. What we can know is that Jesus paid in full the penalty our sins deserved. We know from the scripture that God the Father took every bit of our sin, all of our guilt, all of our shame, all of our fear, all of our sorrow, and He placed it on God the Son. The eternal Lamb of God, who never once ever sinned, according to 2 Cor. 5:21 was made to be sin in our place in order that we might be made the righteousness of God.

The book of Romans clearly declares that the only hope we have of eternal life is to be righteous. The problem is, Romans also makes clear that no one is righteous. We all fall short of God’s standard. Yet, God provides righteousness for us through His Son, Jesus. We can be forgiven of all our sins. We can have eternal life with the Father. We can have the Spirit of God living in us to enable us to live in victory. All of this because of the cross.

Andre Crouch sang, “I don’t know why, Jesus loved me.” Honestly, I can say that. I do not deserve the privilege of knowing God. I should have suffered and died for my sins. I can never earn God’s forgiveness or love. I do not know why Jesus would willingly take my place on Calvary’s cross. But I am so glad He did. In fact, I am eternally grateful.

“Thank you for the Cross, Lord. Thank you for taking my place, and bearing my sin and sorrow. Thank you for drinking in full the cup of the wrath of God against sin. Thank you for enduring faithfully to the end. Thank you for offering a prayer on the cross for my forgiveness. Thank you for faceing death so that I only have to face its shadow. Thank you for breaking the chains of sin. Thank you for rescuing me from the kingdom of darkness. Thank you for making peace for me with the Father so I can be a friend of God. Thank you for enduring the grave. Thank you for conquering death and rising again. Thank you that you have written my name in your book. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

Smoke and Mirrors

Posted: March 19, 2012 in Uncategorized
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“Smoke and mirrors is a metaphor for a deceptive, fraudulent or insubstantial explanation or description. The source of the name is based on magicians‘ illusions, where magicians make objects appear or disappear by extending or retracting mirrors amid a confusing burst of smoke.” (Wikipedia).

Satan is the greatest illusionist of all time. He is the master of smoke and mirrors. He paints a picture of one thing, but the result is entirely different.  He deceived Eve in the Garden into doubting and disbelieving the Word of God. He convinced her that God was in fact holding out on her and that she could be “god” herself. (Adam has even less excuse). But in the end, as God had warned, sin brings death.

The comedian Flip Wilson used to say, “What you see is what you get.” But when Satan tempts he is all about smoke and mirrors.What he shows is not what you get at all. He appeals to our basic desires, but he suggests shortcuts and selfishness, and he paints a picture promising grandiose results and deep satisfaction. But he doesn’t tell about the high interest rate that he charges on the back end.

Someone said, “Sin will take you farther than you wanted to go, keep you longer than you wanted to be, and make you pay a price higher than you wanted to pay.” Satan is a liar, a thief, and a murderer. He has not compassion for you, only contempt and hatred because you are the object of God’s love. His promises are smoke and mirror.

Joy is found in the Presence of God. God’s Word is a life manual to provide you the most satisfaction and the best life possible. God loves you and wants the best. John 10:10 says, “The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but I (Christ) have come that you might have life and have it more abundantly.” Don’t be fooled.

That title seems familiar. A song from my college days, and sung by the great theologians, “The Beatles”. But there is a long and winding road that so many travel. It is a road that leads to nowhere except destruction and death. It is the wide road that most travel, a Nazarene once said.

I remember hearing someone say, “It will take you farther than you wanted to go; it will keep you longer than you wanted to be; it will make you pay a price higher than you wanted to pay.” The “it” is sin. Sin is not relative. Sin is not found on a list of do’s and don’ts. Sin is rebellion against the God who created you.

God made man and woman for Himself. But Adam and Eve said, “We will be our own gods.” And they chose sin. For most of us it is much more subtle. It begins slowly. It has at its center, the letter “I”. sIn. I want, I will, I must, I can… I deserve. It is me, me, me, me. It is all about me.

I spend so much time with people who have made their choices, and made bad ones. Then they are praying desperately that God not allow the consequences of their sins to catch up with them. It is like sowing seed in fertile soil getting adequate rain and sunshine, but then praying that the harvest will not come in. I will have unprotected sex outside of the confines of my marriage, but God please don’t let me catch a disease, or have pregnancy result, and please don’t let my spouse find out. I will drink and drive, but God please don’t let me get caught or hurt anyone. God I will jump off the Empire State Building, but please don’t let me die.

We can make our own decisions and choices; God has created us that way. But we cannot choose the results of those choices.
Sin when fully conceived always results in death. The death of hopes and dreams. The death of marriages. The death of ministries. Sin takes you on a long and winding road that ultimately leads to hell.

There is another choice. It is a narrow road that few take. It is the Jesus Road.

Yes, you heard me right. “Christmas is for LOSERS!.” Somewhere in the reality of lights, the tree, the Gift, the Joy, the Peace, and all the ultimate truth that surrounds the real meaning of Christmas there is this clear message, “Christmas is for LOSERS.

Listen to the message of the angels to the shepherds. “Unto you this day in the city of David is born a SAVIOR.” The announcement is not that there is born a political genuis, or a great moral teacher, or a new direction leader. A Savior. Someone who will save people. And the angels said “for you” and “for all peoples.”

There are two ways I want to suggest that it is for LOSERS. First of all, we lost the battle with sin and death. THe Bible says, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Rom. 3:23). We were created by God, for God, and our purpose is to glorify God. And to any degree that we do not honor God and give Him glory, we are sinners. We are born not naturally glorifying God. the Bible also says, “The wages of sin is death.” We are all losers in that we are all sinners. We all need a Savior.

Secondly, Jesus said, “If anyone would save his life, he will lose it. But if anyone would lose his life for my sake, he will save it.” So in order to experience salvation in Christ, we must lose our lives to Jesus. We must surrender ourselves to Him. The message of Christmas is that a Savior is born. In order for Him to save us, we must surrender, we must lose our life to Jesus.

At the beginning of this little blog, I said “the gift”, “the tree”. The message of Christmas points to “the tree” that was eredted on Golgotha, the hill outside Jerusalem where Jesus was crucified. The “Gift” was God’s gift of Himself, Emmanuel.
Remember that Christmas is not for people who think they don’t need a Savior. Maybe you have felt like a loser because life has crashed and burned around you. Christmas is for you. It is Good News of Great Joy, that a Savior was born. The Gospel of Luke, chapter 2 tells the story. Read it again today. Merry Christmas.

The Ten Commandments say, “Thou shalt not kill.” It is pretty clear. And yet many people are daily killers. Listen to Proverbs 18:21, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” So ask yourself, when you speak, do you enpower life, or death?

Growing up we were taught to say, “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” But when know that is not true. Words can devastate, kill someone. Or they an give them encouragement and life.
Other times when someone said something hurtful, we would say, “I am rubber, you are glue. What you say, bounces off me and sticks to you.” And yet once spoken, words stick to us and continue to hurt us, often throughout our lives.

Negative people speak negative words. And there is something contagious about that, sucking many into the circle of malicious speech. Sometimes we call it gossip. Sometimes we excuse it because we are only listening. We couch it in terms of a “prayer request”, but it is gossip. When you speak negative words, they take on a journey to kill. It is your own hurt that typically causes you to do it.

Are you killing joy? Are you killing peace? Are you killing the work of God in the world around you? Are you killing your children? Are you killing your spouse? So easy to throw out killing words. Why not be a life giver today? Enpower people to reach their full potential in Christ. Speak words that are a blessing.

As my momma used to tell me, “If you cannot say something positive, don’t say anything at all?”