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Saturday, March 22, 2008

He Is Risen!

This morning’s newspaper quotes a few local ministers’ statements about the resurrection. They claim Christ’s resurrection was only symbolic; it didn’t actually happen.

What gobbledy-gook!

Do you think the apostles exchanged fear for courage because the resurrection was symbolic?

Do you think Peter, who denied the Lord, later boldly summoned thousands of Jews to repent and believe on Christ because the resurrection was symbolic?

Do you think Stephen accepted martyrdom calmly and prayed for his assailants because the resurrection was symbolic?

Do you think Saul of Tarsus laid aside his venomous hatred of Christ’s followers and became a leader among them because the resurrection was symbolic?

Do you think Saul of Tarsus prayed on the Damascus Road, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” because the resurrection was symbolic?

Do you think Saul of Tarsus became Paul, the apostle, and endured intense persecution and embraced martyrdom because the resurrection was symbolic?

Do you think the apostle John passionately prophesied Christ’s return and prayed, “Come, Lord Jesus,” because the resurrection was symbolic?

Do you think thousands of Christians have laid down their lives for the sake of the gospel because the resurrection was symbolic?

Do you think missionaries have left the comfort and security of home and ventured to distant countries, including dangerous places, because the resurrection was symbolic?

Three weeks ago, my friend Cal died. His last words were, “Praise the Lord!” Do you think he spoke those words because the resurrection was symbolic?

Move over Coca-Cola™, the resurrection of Christ is “the real thing.”

He is risen! He is risen indeed!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Reflecting on Jesus' Death

The apostle Paul regarded Jesus’ death on the cross as a selfless act. “The Lord Jesus Christ,” he told the Galatians, “gave himself for our sins” (Gal. 1:4). As millions of worshipers reflect today—Good Friday—on the sacrifice Jesus made for our sins, we who know Him as Savior should also serve Him as Lord.

Isaac Watts captured this sentiment perfectly in his hymn, “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.” Contemplating what Jesus suffered for us, he wrote:

“Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;

Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.”

We can look back at Calvary through the open tomb, and thank God for the gift of His Son. We can also look forward to our first day in Heaven, when we thank our risen Savior and Lord in person for dying for us. And until then, we can show a thankful heart by living each day in accordance with His will.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

We Mutter and Sputter

When I was a student at Moody Bible Institute in the mid-1950s, I kept a poem taped to the door of my dormitory room. Five decades later, it is still relevant.

We mutter and sputter.
We fume and we spurt.
We mumble and grumble.
Our feelings get hurt.
We can’t understand things.
Our vision grows dim.
When all that we need
Is a moment with Him.

We may not have a ready answer for all of life’s puzzles and challenges, but our Lord has. He invites us to come to Him and promises to give us rest (Matthew 11:28).

Read Psalm 73 today, and see how the brief poem connects with it. Ponder Psalm 73:28!

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Modern-Minister Doll

I wonder how long it will be until someone invents a modern-minister doll. Perhaps you can guess how it will work. Just pull the string attached to his back, and modern minister will tell you what you want to hear. Of course, the human prototype has been available for years in various shapes and sizes.

The modern minister tells his congregation man is basically good, sin and hell are archaic concepts, Jesus was simply a good man and an excellent role model, all references to the blood of Christ are obnoxious, and the Bible is riddled with myths.

The modern minister devotes most of his time to social and political causes. He hopes his ministry will help usher in Earth’s Golden Age. He also deifies man and humanizes God by portraying God as existing to serve us instead our existing to serve Him.

Contrary to what modern minister preaches, the Bible insists we are all sinners for whom Jesus died. We should expect mankind to resolve what ails the human heart and the world at large. Even the best-intentioned minds and hands cannot fashion Heaven on earth. Heaven is far too holy to be attained; it can be reached only by personal faith in the Savior.

Preachers must never become so modern that they abandon the old-fashioned but timeless gospel. Further, they must rely on divine power to persuade believers to serve God humbly and faithfully until He calls them Home.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Waiting Is Not My Spiritual Gift

I don’t like to wait. Traffic lights don’t turn green fast. Golfers ahead of me don’t play fast enough. Checkout lines don’t move along fast enough. And commercials don’t end soon enough.

I really don’t like to wait. It’s not my spiritual gift!

Yesterday I waited ten minutes at our bank’s drive-through. Only one other car was there at the time, and my transaction was so simple a caveman could handle it.

My next stop was the barbershop. The barber cut my hair in eight minutes. Maybe he should get a job at the bank. He beat the drive-through teller’s time by two minutes.

My sermon this morning is titled, ”The Royal Road to Calvary.” As you might guess, it focuses on Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem at the beginning of what has been called Holy Week. A multitude welcomed Him with shouts of “Hosanna,” meaning “Save now.” It must have been quite a sight. As Jesus rode a donkey into the city, the crowd spread clothing and tree branches in front of Him. Hope must have been running high that day—hope that Jesus would cast off Roman oppression and restore the kingdom to Israel.

But wait! Jesus had come to redeem, not reign. He had come to die on a cross, not to don a crown. In a few days, the crowd that called out “Hosanna” would cry out, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”

Jesus embraced the cross, where He purchased our redemption with His blood. Three days later, He arose from the dead, and 40 days later He ascended to Heaven, where He is seated at the Father’s right hand.

But wait! Someday, Jesus will restore the kingdom to Israel. He will return to Earth. When He returns, He will be wearing many crowns on His head. He will ride, not on a donkey but on a white horse. He will triumph over His enemies and lead a procession of armies from heaven. On His robe and thigh, He will bear a name, “KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”

I can hardly wait for that stellar event.