Sunday, March 30, 2008
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Monday, March 24, 2008
Sunday, March 23, 2008
He is risen! The tomb of Jesus… wherever it was… is empty! Not because his body was stolen, but because he rose from the dead! Jesus appeared first to women... then the Apostles... then to more than500 believers at one time. The Scriptures record that Jesus gave "many convincing proofs” that he was alive. That was almost 2,000 years ago. Ever since then… every year… Christians celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. But as wonderful as that it, Jesus’ resurrection is not the only thing Christians celebrate! There is more cause and reason to celebrate than just that He was resurrected. The greater celebration is yet to come… because one day Jesus will come back to earth the same way he left. Yes… Jesus is alive! And for that we celebrate. But the greater celebration is that Jesus is coming back! And when He returns it will be in power, glory, and majesty! The next time Jesus is on earth He will be Ruler, King, and the Sovereign Lord who will crush all His enemies and bring rewards for all those who long for His appearing! Now that's something worth celebrating, not just today, but everyday of the year! But the truth is so many don't celebrate that truth daily. They wait to do it twice a year. Which was so evident this morning as our church swelled to over 318 verses the usual 150-200. Our pastor even shared to the many visitors that they were invited to come back next week as well. I sat and pondered for a while and then wondered if any of the 100 or so would be slightly convicted by their lukewarm Christianity. Especially since we conducted our service the same way we do every week. Do you think they were aware that all the regulars knew who they were?... Or that Christianity has very little to do with getting dressed up and going to church on Easter?... I hope so! My prayer is that our many visitors realize all they're missing out on and hopefully begin to see all God is doing, not just today, but everyday of the year. So from our home to yours, we wish you a blessed Easter Sunday , but more importantly we hope you make a point to celebrate Christ's resurrection, not just today, but throughout the whole year!
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Friday, March 21, 2008
Don't you just love the simple truth of children! Let's be honest, I'm not sure if I could kill a little lamb every week either. There is no way I could have been raised on a farm. I'm so glad that Christ, the Lamb of God, the perfect sacrifice, paid the price of our sin, so that we could have eternal life!
It is likely that the term “Good Friday” came from the earlier English phrase, “Godes Friday,” meaning “God’s Friday.” In much the same way as “God be with ye” was shortened to “goodbye,” so did “Godes Friday” become “Good Friday.” In one sense there is nothing “good” about this Friday in that Jesus was murdered by being crucified. He spent 6 hours enduring the shame and ridicule of men. Then it was on the cross that Jesus received all of God’s wrath for all the sin of all those who had… or will ever believe. The worst part of Jesus’ suffering was not the crown of thorns… it was not the lashes he received from Roman soldiers… it was not the beatings or the embarrassment of hanging on a cross naked for hours. No, the worst part of Jesus’ suffering was expressed when He cried out on the cross, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?!”
To think... It was on the cross that God punished Jesus AS IF he had committed every sin we've committed in our entire life. That includes every sinful thought, word, and deed of ours (Meditate on that). Then add that God punished Jesus for every sinful thought, word, or deed committed by EVERY believer who has and will ever exist. Hell is the absence of God’s presence and His wrath/punishment for sin. On the cross, Jesus literally went through hell, IN THE PLACE OF, every person who would ever believe! And in so providing salvation for everyone who would believe. Wow!
But it’s only Friday… Sunday is coming!
Thursday, March 20, 2008
“Maunday” would best be translated to mean… “Mandate.” It reminds believers that Jesus gave a mandate to the Apostles as he washed their feet which was… “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you” John 13:34
Take a moment today to reflect on these 4 events and the impact they have on us as Christians. Especially be mindful as these events unfold, Jesus was actually in the process of working to provide our salvation. And to think God's only commandment in return for our salvation is for us to love one another; as he loved us.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Monday, March 17, 2008
A bit about Saint Patrick...
* He was a pagan until he was 16 years old
* He became a Christian during his enslavement to the Irish marauders who kidnapped him from his family's wealthy estate on the British mainland
* He escaped after 6 years and was so convicted of the need to spread the Gospel that he went to study at the monastery for 12 years
* In saving many souls for Christ, he was despised by the Celtic Druids who were pagans... he was captured and imprisoned by them on numerous occasions, but miraculously escaped each time
* Saint Patrick originated the symbol of the shamrock as he used it to teach the concept of the Trinity: three leaves connected by one stem (and isn't it cool that each leaf is in the shape of a heart?)
* He died on March 17 AD 461, which is why we celebrate his life on this day
* Although he is celebrated as a Saint, Patrick and the early Celtic Church of Ireland rejected any foreign control of the church, recognizing only Jesus Christ as head of the Church. Roman Catholicism was not embraced until many years later
From The Confession, written by Saint Patrick as he neared the end of his life:
"And there the Lord opened the sense of my unbelief that I might at last remember my sins and then turn with all my heart to the Lord my God, who had regard for my low estate, and took pity on my youth and ignorance, and watched over me before I knew Him, and before I was able to distinguish between good and evil, and guarded me, and comforted me as would a father his son. Hence I cannot be silent - and indeed, I ought not to be - about the many blessings and the great grace which the Lord has deigned to bestow upon me in the land of my captivity... for this we can give to God in return after having been chastened by Him, to exalt and praise His wonders before every nation that is anywhere under the heaven."
So I challenge you, today as your kids dress in green, pinch each other and wear shirts that say, "Kiss me, I'm Irish" and joke about leprechauns and pots of gold, take a moment to teach your family and children the truth about Saint Patrick. And the real reason we celebrate his life. He devoted himself to following Christ and teaching others about the Good News. Even though it meant returning to the place of his initial enslavement, he followed God's plan for his life, "to exalt and praise His wonders before evey nation that is anywhere under heaven." How inspirational is that!? He was a man with a passion and a purpose. And he changed the face of Christianity forever and in doing so he saved countless people for Christ.
Now THAT'S something to celebrate!
After dinner, we took one final stroll down the bustling Sultanahmet and enjoyed the 60 degree weather. We took some beautiful pictures of the Blue Mosque from every angle and stopped at our favorite restaurant for some tea and dessert. It was the perfect ending to a wonderful trip to Istanbul.