Sunday, April 24, 2011
The ability to conquer is one of the most rewarding things in the world. People train mentally, physically and sometimes spiritually for months trying to reach their ultimate goal--the ability to say "I have conquered my foe." The object of this driving passion varies depending upon the person. One may be a golfer whose greatest desire is to win a "Masters." To another it might be an actor searching for the "Oscar" or a singer looking to become number one on the musical chart. Whatever the case, the goal remains the same. However, there is a universal desire common to every class and creed that man reaches for; the ability to conquer death. We exercise, eat right, take herbs, medicines, and pray in order to beat the grave. Yet, success has eluded us. That's what makes the resurrection such a powerful feat. Jesus did what no one else had done. He conquered the grave. Throughout history death had captured and held its victims hostage regardless of their plea. This all changed on the third day when Jesus arose. Not only did he come forth from the tomb, but he led hundreds of others out with him who had been held in bondage. When the sun came up on that glorious morn, death had been embarrassed and the grave emptied. While confused and stung from the blow this enemy of our soul found itself looking into the face of our King who declared, "I am he that lives and was dead and am alive forever more, and have the keys, of hell and of death." In other words Jesus said, "I conquered it." Even greater still is the fact that God allows us to share in the spoils of the victory. He did not choose to wear the crown alone. Which means, because he did we can. In him we have the ability to conquer it--death.
Sunday, April 17, 2011
It started out as just an ordinary day and then the call came. Two disciples from Jerusalem were standing in front of the house in Bethphage. Upon being greeted they opened their mouths and began to speak. "We need to borrow your colt because our Master has need of it." Although surprised by the request the owner without argument unloosed the animal and sent it with them. Little did the colt know that in just a few short hours its eternal destiny would be changed as it walked down the streets of the city amid palm branches and multitudinous cheers crying out, "Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest." With great interest I hear the colt asking, "who is this that I am carrying? From the sound of the crowd he must be someone special." Indeed he was. The animal who had never carried a man, had been commissioned before the beginning of time to escort the King of Kings--the Savior of the world. Only later as history unfolded would the impact of this service be fully known. Without resistance or complaint the colt carried the burden of the Lord as he prepared to carry the burden of the world. As the journey ends and its duty fulfilled, I can hear the bray of the wild but tame ass echoing forth as if to say, "It was a privilege sir!" Creation addresses the creator with heartfelt thanks. As I reflect upon this story I cannot help but think that we at any moment might be asked to fulfill an act of service for the King? What an honor it would afford us. Even though wild at heart and undisciplined at times we hear the Holy Spirit say, "the Master has need of you." Are you ready for the unexpected call?
Sunday, April 10, 2011
How do you manage the storms in your life? All of us encounter them in the natural as well as the spiritual world. As a matter of fact it has been said we are either going into, in the middle of, or coming out of a storm in our lives. So the issue is not will we face one, but what will we do when it comes? There are several alternatives to choose from. Just last evening the weather man in our area forecast a serious thunderstorm with the possibility of a tornado. Upon hearing this several people were nervous and wanted to run for shelter. That’s the normal inclination when dealing with the natural. However, when facing the spiritual our approach must be radically different. We cannot hide nor run from our storms. The best option for survival is to walk through them. This is the instruction Jesus gave his disciples in Matthew chapter 8. They were fearful at the thought of perishing and were looking for some means of escape. They cried out to the Lord and he responded as if to say “boys you can’t run from it, you’ve got to walk through it. So how did they survive? The answer was so adequately expressed recently in one of our morning services by a guest speaker. They made it through because of Jesus’ closeness—he was with them in the boat; they made it because of his care—he spoke to their need; they made it because of his control—he spoke to the wind and waves and they were immediately calmed. The same holds true for us today. Our survival is wrapped up in our remembering that we always have his presence—“Fear not;” we always have his promise—“have faith;” and we always have his power—“winds be calm.” With those factors we can face any storm that comes our way so why not conquer your storm!
Sunday, April 3, 2011
During one of his expeditions to the Antarctic, Sir Ernest Shackleton left some of his men on Elephant Island with the intent of returning for them and taking them back to England. But he was delayed three times as he tried to reach them being prevented by the ice. Finally, on his fourth try, he broke through and found a narrow channel to the island. Much to his surprise, he found the crewmen waiting for him, supplies packed and ready to board. They were soon on their way back to England. He asked them how they knew to be ready for him. They told him they didn’t know when he would return, but they were sure he would. So every morning, the leader rolled up his bag, packed his gear and told the crew to do the same saying, “Get your things ready, boys. The boss may come today.” The aspect of being ready was the message Jesus was trying to convey to his inquisitive disciples while sitting on the Mount of Olives. They had asked, "will you tell us when the end will come?" Instead of giving a specific time frame he simply stated “So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” Knowing humanity He knew if given the exact time man would have a tendency to play and procrastinate. He would delay making the necessary changes required for preparation. Although we still do not know when the Lord will return, we do know that the requirements have not changed. We must always have our things packed up and our lives in order for "the boss may come today."