Posts Tagged ‘death’

Hang

Posted: August 30, 2016 in Uncategorized
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Matthew 22:36-40 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ On These two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

What if we read the last sentence without the word On? Would our understanding of the importance of what Jesus is saying become clearer? Could we finally truly know that the law and the prophets only bring death and that Jesus came to show us that God’s intent was and is always life?

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Every day our lives are filled with tragedy. Death, heartbreak and catastrophe dominate the media and too often get much closer. What can we do? I see three general options:

  1. Ignore what’s going on unless that proves to be impossible.
  2. Rant, rave and demand others do something.
  3. Engage, get involved and make a difference ourselves.

Option one is the path most chosen. The day to day busyness of our lives has a way of making this seem like the only option. Combining our hectic lives with the overwhelming volume of bad news makes it easy to think there’s nothing we can do.

Option two is smoke and mirrors. If I can make enough noise, maybe no one will notice things are only getting worse and I can put the blame on others. The distressing aspects of this option are; it’s primarily focused on the past and few hearts get changed.

Option three changes the question altogether. Instead of asking, “What can we do?” We’re now asking, “What can I do?” This is how we change the world! And the answer to, “What can I do?” is Love. We can’t legislate it and we can’t expect others to do it for us. Each day we encounter hurt, lonely, angry, insecure people. They need to be loved and they need to know someone cares. We can do that! We probably won’t make headlines but imagine the difference that can be made. What shooter or bomber could have their heart changed by real love before they ever even consider…

Is it ironic, paradoxical or just outright diabolical that we use this verse to justify judging others? Isn’t it what Jesus said to the woman right after he told the religious people not to judge her? Is it possible this statement indicates that her sin is between her and God? And isn’t it comfortingly amazing that just a few verses later He tells us “I judge no one.”?

A life focused on sin, especially other people’s, is a life eclipsed by death. A life focused on love, especially to those that are different, is a life lived to its fullest.

-and sobbed over the state of the world. Young people with seemingly everything going their way committing suicide, a jogger randomly shot because some young men were bored, a man freakishly dying while on vacation with his family and an 88 year old veteran beaten to death. And that’s not even a drop in the bucket. There is so much tragedy and so much pain, it’s overwhelming.

What can we possibly do? Is there an answer? I know there is and I know it isn’t christianity. The answer is Jesus pure and simple. Not the jesus you believe in, not the jesus you control by doing this or that according to the rules. The answer is the Jesus that you know for real, personally, intimately, the Jesus that lives in you, The Jesus that the hurting world is desperate to know, The One that truly is the only answer for their/our pain.

Reward

Posted: March 17, 2013 in Uncategorized
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Christianity was never intended to be a morality based on reward. Following Jesus is a process of becoming more and more like Him. Scripture tells us we are to be conformed to the image of His Son which means going through similar trials and tribulations. Jesus didn’t suffer to save us from suffering; He died to save us from death.

Why is connecting so important? Why do people pay such a high price for even a moment of it? Why are people with everything but connection eventually confronted by their own misery? The answer to all these questions is the same: because God exists as a community of connected persons. We were fashioned by a God whose deepest joy is connection with Himself, a God who created us to enjoy the pleasure He enjoys by connecting supremely with Him but also with each other. To experience the joy of connection is life; to not experience it is death to our souls, death to our deepest desires, death to everything that makes us human. – Larry Crabb

“The state of being restored to life.”

Jesus’ death on the cross began a separation between He and the Father that lasted until He was restored to life. But His Resurrection not only returned Himself to the presence of the Father it also once and for all conquered death for us as well. We no longer need ever be separated from Him. The arms spread open on the cross are now always eager for a welcome embrace.

The world is not monochromatic. Seldom in life are the choices we’re confronted with so cut and dried or so easily identified. The good news for us is that ours is the God that places power in weakness, wisdom in simplicity and glory in humility. He is the God who overcomes death with life. With Him there is always more than meets the eye. When we choose to see things as either black or white we miss out on the reds, blues, greens, oranges and all the other colors He’s given us. As we learn to see through His eyes, there is beauty all around.

God becoming one of us is no less an act of His perfect love than His death and resurrection. Today we rejoice that he came but let’s also celebrate that He is here, that He loves each of us uniquely and that His greatest desire is to be included in all that we are and all that we do. Merry Christmas, you are so loved.