We are all seeking something. Some seek after affirmation, others after wealth, power, or prestige. Still others are seeking simpler things, such as daily food and clothing. Whatever we seek, it has the power to become our lives, to consume us entirely.
Knowing this, Jesus instructed those who would follow him to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33 ESV). If you are like me, you probably read that with an emphasis upon the word “first.” We say we are to seek FIRST the reign and righteousness of God. Thus leaving the impression that God’s reign and righteousness are first among almost equals.
But the emphasis is not found in the order but in the object. The seeking of God’s reign and righteousness, in contrast to that of the Pharisees seeking their own (Matt. 5:20), should be stressed.
Continue reading “Who is your life?”
When Jesus went to the cross, it marked the lowest point in world history. From his disciples’ point of view, the unthinkable had occurred, their Messiah had failed. The question that John’s disciples had asked, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another” (Matthew 11:3 ESV) must have seemed quite prescient. The darkness that covered the earth must have been felt in every heart that believed in this great man.
What seemed like defeat from a human perspective was truly God’s greatest victory. The cross was the fulfillment of prophecy (see Genesis 3:15). While it seemed like Satan had delivered the death blow, it was God’s plan all along (see Revelation 13:8 MLV, YLT), and Jesus always possessed the power to offer up or withhold his life (John 10:17, 18). Like the mystery of the unity of the Jew and Gentile prophesied in the Old Testament, this victory was not seen by man until God revealed it in the resurrection.
Continue reading “The Power of the resurrection in daily life”
How does one achieve glory? Humans think glory means to exalt self above others, and so people have tried to find a way to become the most exalted on earth.
Many used politics to find a route to glory by becoming a ruler. Others accumulated wealth as a way to find themselves exalted and enshrined in memory. Others have simply dominated others in an attempt to gain it. All of them have failed because they never understood what glory is. Continue reading “The road to glory”
Jesus was arrested and stood trial at night in violation of the Sanhedrin’s own rules. He had been beaten and slapped by the Temple’s soldiers. When Pilate received the case, the Jews changed the charge from blasphemy to treason because they knew the Romans would not crucify Jesus except for a violation of Roman law. He was judged innocent, yet he was scourged, mistreated and crucified.
After several hours on the cross, the Son of God neared the end of his life. As death drew near, he said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit,” (Luke 23:46 NET). Continue reading “Into your hands”
Jesus suffered arrest even though he had done nothing wrong and not even the false witnesses could agree on what he had done.
Jesus preached love, joy, and peace in a world that needed all three. He helped people understand their need to obey God and live according to God’s word. He pleaded with the Jews to abandon their hypocrisy and become the shining lights the world needed.
For all this, Roman soldiers and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus, bound him and delivered him to Annas and Caiaphas, the two men acting as high priests.
They hated Jesus for no other reason than they were envious of him (Matthew 27:18; Mark 15:10). Continue reading “The greatest injustice”
Shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?” (John 18:11)
We often consider the unfair treatment Jesus suffered. He was mocked, beaten, ridiculed, spat upon, struck, blindfolded, stripped, beaten, humiliated (Isaiah 53:1-12; Acts 8:32; 1 Peter 2:19-23). All this, before he was nailed to a cross and hung up to die.
He who created man and placed him in a Garden of paradise and showered him with blessings, found himself in a Garden of sorrow, showered with bloody sweat. Continue reading “He knew it all along”
And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).
There was a film star who supposedly declared, on being told of her imminent death: “I always thought an exception would be made in my case.” Of course there are no exceptions; to be human is to be mortal.
Samuel Johnston once declared that the prospect of one’s own imminent death “wonderfully concentrates the mind.” Continue reading “And after that …”
Drawn Swords, Blueberry Tart, Xanthippe’s Halo. These are part of the now nonexistent collection for which I still wistfully keep records. It might be the horticultural equivalent of an obituary column, where we mourn the passing of loved ones. I might replace some of them, but for now they are simply fond memories.
Every gardener has her list of failures, and mine gets longer every year. This year it was my seven-foot tall brugmansia that succumbed to a very hard frost. Even in the garage, it was too cold for this favorite to stay alive. One day it was full of blooms, filling the garage with the most wonderful fragrance; the next day the whole tree was brown and limp. Continue reading “Going, going, gone!”
“He will be raised on the third day” (Matthew 17:23).
Last Sunday (2/5/17), the New England Patriots mustered the greatest comeback victory in Super Bowl history. They were down 25 points late in the game, but rallied to score 31 straight points to win 34-28 in overtime.
When a team cannot be held down and refuses to lose, you can’t help but be inspired.
But no comeback in history was greater than Jesus’. Continue reading “The greatest comeback of all time”
Uprooted. Alone. Out of your element. That’s the feeling you have when you lose a loved one, especially a parent.
We all crave connection, whether it is with family, friends, or even coworkers and neighbors with whom we only nod and smile when we pass by. When an important connection is severed, the feelings of loss can be overwhelming. Continue reading “Uprooted”