Saturday, March 31, 2007
Jesus said, "You are the light of the world...let your light shine in such a way that people will see your good works and glorify your father in heaven."
This dear one always had her light pointed toward Christ. Her life has glorified the Lord, and the ripples from that one life will be eternal.
Well done, dear friend, you have FINISHED WELL!
Friday, March 30, 2007
Palm Sunday began with praise and celebration. The king has come. Hosanna in the highest!
But this day ends with tears because they didn't recognize who had ridden into Jerusalem. They rejected their Messiah! But they missed even more than that. Did you notice that last phrase of verse 44- "because you did not recognize the time of GOD'S coming to you." God had been in their midst providing salvation and offering to be their king and they said, "no".
The sad end of this story is in John 19:15- "We have no king but Caesar," the chief priests answered.
They rejected the king of the universe, and were left with the king they most wanted to be rid of.
It seems that when I reject God's best what I end up with is a sad substitute. And so, Jesus wept over Jerusalem...and Israel missed the very king they were looking for.....
I wonder how often I miss him in my life?
Thursday, March 29, 2007
"Seventy sevens have been decreed for your people… So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven sevens and sixty-two sevens; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress. Then after the sixty-two sevens the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary.”
Exactly what is meant by “seventy sevens”? If you read these four verses just by themselves you might be a bit confused, but if you read the passage in context (as you should) it’s pretty clear what is meant. The text interprets itself. Daniel’s prayer in verses 3-19 refers to seventy years fulfilled, the 70 years of the Babylonian captivity prophesied by the Prophet Jeremiah. The seventy sevens prophecy came in answer to Daniel's prayer. It foretold a period of seven times seventy years which was still to come.
The seventy “sevens” are seventy seven-year periods - 490 years. The prophecy states that “from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven sevens and sixty-two sevens.” 7 + 62 = 69. So 69 seven year periods (7 sevens and 62 sevens) would pass from the decree to rebuild Jerusalem till the coming of the Messiah. The Messiah would be “cut off” and the city and the temple would subsequently be destroyed again.
This prophecy is according to the ancient 360-day calendar employed by both the Hebrews and the Babylonians (Daniel being written in Babylon during the Babylonian captivity after the fall and decimation of Jerusalem by King Nebuchadnezzar). So, 69 x 7 years = 483 years, 483 years x 360 days = 173,880 days.
The Persian Emperor Artaxerxes Longimanus (who ruled Persia from 464-424 BC) issued the edict to rebuild Jerusalem on the 1st of Nissan in the 20th year of his reign (that is, March 5th, 444 BC; see Nehemiah 2:1-8). 173,880 days from March 5th 444 BC is March 30th 33 AD. Here’s the math: March 5th 444 BC to March 5th 33 AD = 476 years (1 B.C. to 1 A.D. is one year, there is no year zero) 476 x 365.24219879 days (which is the length of one year according to our modern calendar) = 173,855 days March 5th to March 30th is another 25 days. So, 173,855 days + 25 days = 173,880 days March 30th, 33 AD was exactly 5 days before the Passover (April 3rd, 33 AD). So what happened exactly 5 days before the Passover in 33 AD?
In John’s Gospel we read, “Then, *six days before the Passover*, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead. … Now a great many of the Jews knew that He was there; and they came, not for Jesus' sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead. But the chief priests plotted to put Lazarus to death also, because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus. *The next day* a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out: ‘Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD! The King of Israel!’" (John 12:1, 9-13)
The day after six days before the Passover equals five days before the Passover. March 30th was the Triumphal Entry, the day upon which Christ presented Himself to the nation of Israel as their Messiah, the first time in His entire ministry that Christ allowed Himself to be publicly proclaimed as the Messiah (Matthew 21:8-16; Luke 19:37-40; cf. Matthew 16:13-20; Mark 8:27-30; 9:9-10; Luke 9:18-21; John 6:14-15). Christ was crucified four days later, the day before Passover. Within one generation Titus razed Jerusalem and destroyed the temple.*
In other words, Jesus came on the exact day prophesied by Daniel hundreds of years earlier, on the 10th of Nissan, the day the passover lamb is selected. The Jews of Jesus day could have figured out when Messiah would come, the information was there for them. As mentioned above Daniel clearly told them the details of when Messiah would arrive. Why did they reject him? Why didn't they know about this day and receive him as their Messiah and King?
Because Jesus came to do something diffeent than they expected, something different than what they wanted. He came the first time as the Messiah to fulfill the role of priest and passover lamb. They were watching for a king to defeat the Romans. They rejected the Messiah and his purpose because it didn't fit with their idea of Messiah.
Do we do the same thing? Do we miss the Messiah in our lives because he doesn't look like what we wanted? Do we miss God's work in our lives because he doesn't do what we want him to do?
*(thanks to gotquestions.org for the detail and math in the notes above. It's a good site for bible questions.)
The passover is at the very core of the Jewish faith. Moses, by God's leading, established passover while they were still slaves in Egypt. But what I want you to notice in this passage is WHEN they picked the lamb for the passover sacrifice. They picked the lamb on the 10 of Nissan, their first month of the year. Then, four days later, the lamb was sacrificed on passover.
Guess when Jesus entered Jerusalem? Yes, it was Palm Sunday, but it was also the 10th of Nissan, the very day when the passover lamb is chosen. Four days later, on passover, Jesus is crucified. He came as the king on that day, but he also came as the lamb of passover who would die four days later for the sin of the world.
John told us about this when he introduced Jesus by saying, "Behold, the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world."
Only God could plan something so amazing! The prophet Zechariah talked about a man who will someday come as king AND priest. He has come. He has fulfilled his role as priest, and is already king in the lives of millions. One day he will come back, not on a donkey, but on a white horse, to set up his eternal kingdom. Come, Lord Jesus....I look forward to the day!
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
This Sunday is Palm Sunday. It is a celebration in the Christian church of the day Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the donkeys' colt with the praise of the people welcoming him to town. It's an important day!
This is a quiz for all you great bible students out there- Why is Palm Sunday important? What does it mean and why is it an important day in the Christian faith?
(Over the next few days leading up to Sunday I will unpack this day. I'm really excited about what it means, and I can't wait to tell you more!)
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
For me to take time aside from the world, to quiet my mind and heart and spend time with God is one of the most important things I can do in my walk with God, and yet, I must admit it is often the last thing I make time for in my busy day.
What always amazes me is that the sovereign God of the universe invites me into his presence at any time in my day to spend time with him! As I write that I'm embarrassed because I don't spend time with God as I know I need to. Now, I'm not being a legalist here, I simply know that my whole life and all that's involved in it is dependent upon the God who made me, who also invites me to come and visit anytime! Why do we find that prayer is low on our list of things we do?
I do believe that prayer is neglected because it's hard work. It demands silence in a world of noise. It demands solitude in a world of people. It demands dependence upon someone else in a world of self-reliance. It demands patience in a world of NOW. It demands time in a world where we think we have so little free time to give away.
The solitary quest is not intended to get God to do something. It's not intended as a time to submit my wish list. It's not meant to be a time to complain. It's my opportunity to quietly tune my mind and life to the one who made me. It's my opportunity to get to know God personally. It's my time to be quiet in his presence and listen....for you see, my goal is not to get a word from God...my goal is to know him. And when I spend time with him, and get to know him, my world changes. My mind and heart quiet down. My fears calm. My brow softens. My sighs turn to giggles. And the God who already knows what I need often answers prayers I never asked.
I spent time with the creator of the universe! Will he not do what's best in my life? The more I know him the more I will trust him. When I'm fearful, worried, scared.....it's clear I have lost sight of God...it's time for a solitary quest to spend time with my God. Whether he answers my prayers is no longer the issue, now my quest is simply be with him. The rest will work out, for you see he's God!
Col 3:1 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
Col 3:2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
Col 3:3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
Col 3:4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Sunday, March 25, 2007
Saturday, March 24, 2007
Psa 1:1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
Psa 1:2 but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.
Psa 1:3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
Psa 1:4 The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Psa 1:5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
Psa 1:6 for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.
Friday, March 23, 2007
Psa 131:2 Surely I have composed and quieted my soul; Like a weaned child rests against his mother, My soul is like a weaned child within me.
Psa 131:3 O Israel, hope in the LORD From this time forth and forever.
I think in pictures, so when I see a picture it will often remind me of something I have read. This IS the perfect picture for this Psalm. Total trust, complete dependence, not a worry in the world, quiet and at rest in his mother's arms.
We often fret and worry when we most need to simply rest in the Father's arms. Why do we do that? Why do we struggle so much with God as our Father?
Lord, help us to rest in you. Help us to trust you. Let us see your face so we won't worry about what is going on around us. We need you.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Joh 13:4 *got up from supper, and *laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself.
Joh 13:5 Then He *poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.
Joh 13:6 So He *came to Simon Peter. He *said to Him, "Lord, do You wash my feet?"
Joh 13:7 Jesus answered and said to him, "What I do you do not realize now, but you will understand hereafter."
Joh 13:8 Peter *said to Him, "Never shall You wash my feet!" Jesus answered him, "If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me."
Joh 13:9 Simon Peter *said to Him, "Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head."
Joh 13:10 Jesus *said to him, "He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you."
Joh 13:11 For He knew the one who was betraying Him; for this reason He said, "Not all of you are clean."
Joh 13:12 So when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you?
Joh 13:13 "You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am.
Joh 13:14 "If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.
Joh 13:15 "For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.
Joh 13:16 "Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him.
Joh 13:17 "If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Rev 4:5 Out from the throne come flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder. And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God;
Rev 4:6 and before the throne there was something like a sea of glass, like crystal; and in the center and around the throne, four living creatures full of eyes in front and behind.
Rev 4:7 The first creature was like a lion,
and the second creature like a calf,
and the fourth creature was like a flying eagle.
These four creatures are called Seraphim. They are the angels who are contantly in the presence of God crying out "Holy, holy, holy." Now I don't have pictures that would show them as they are, but can you imagine what amazing angels these are? How wonderful...six wings, full of eyes....we have no idea how awesome they look, but we do have a little picture of them. It suddenly struck me today, as I read, that these angels were created before God made the heavens and the earth. Is it possible that these animals are a small glimpse of what those Seraphim look like? Did God make the Lion, the calf and the eagle to honor those angels? Do they give us a glimpse at how amazing even God's angelic creation is? I think I will look at lions, calves and eagles in a different way from now on.....just a "hey, wait a minute...." moment for me.
Monday, March 19, 2007
Basically what I was thinking about this morning is God's placement of me in time and history to be part of his kingdom plan. I'm here, in this place at this time by his divine plan. He has a task for me to do in his kingdom.
For me, I have always sought lofty accomplishments. I have wanted to do great things for God- build big churches, be the next Billy Graham, or write the great Christian book....you get the idea, but that's not what I was made for. And I must be honest, finding out what God made you to do and doing it is one of the most important things in life! I was made to care for people. If all I do in life is touch one life at a time with the gospel and help people in their walk with God then my reward at the judgment seat of Christ will be what God intended because I did what I was designed to do.
I am always amazed by the picture painted in Revelation of 4 angels who were created to do one thing, and they haven't done it yet! They will be successful because the will do their one thing as God planned. And that's my goal- to do those things I was made for. It's funny how grand aspirations fall away quickly when you know what God made you to do.
If you don't know what the Father designed you to do then ask him. Ask a pastor. Talk to your friends. Get in the word. The best place you can be is to be you doing what God made you to do.
1Co 12:7 Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits. All kinds of things are handed out by the Spirit, and to all kinds of people!
Sunday, March 18, 2007
Friday, March 16, 2007
1Pe 5:7 casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.
There is, in the Scottish games, something called "Braemar Stones." It's a contest to take a heavy stone, usually weighing 18-28 pounds, and throw it as far as you can.
I would be the comic relief in this contest! Do they have a competition for the shortest throw?
Here's the call- take all of those things that worry you, that cause you anxiety, and throw them on Christ. It just takes a moment, and you will walk a little taller the rest of the day.
It's always been interesting to me why we are invited to do this. Did you notice it? Because he cares for us. What an incentive! God cares for me, and wants to take care of my worries too.
So, here's your casting call- cast them all on the Lord.....because he cares for you!
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Monday, March 12, 2007
This picture (which I have used before) is one of those icons to me. It's the rock of Horeb. It's the rock that Moses struck in the wilderness after they left Egypt to provide water for 2,000,000 people for months.
It's important to me as a reminder, because I find myself, like the children of Israel, fretting and complaining about what is going on in my life. I find myself worrying....what will happen to us if....how will we get by.....I'm sure you have struggled with many of the same thoughts. This morning I awaken from a very fretful night of worry. Thinking, praying, fretting, tossing, worrying, praying....I hate to tell you this, but us old pastors struggle with trusting God at times like anyone in our faith communities. It's the worse part of being human for me- knowing God, knowing he has always taken care of you, knowing he has promised to always care for you in the future, and yet finding yourself worrying. I hate that part of my fallen heart....the part that truly doubts God's willingness and ability to care for me. I know I would have been one of the Jews in the wilderness saying, "can God really provide for us here?"
So, I come back to Horeb. I remind myself of what God has done in the past, and I know he will care for me in the future. He never changes, he is always aware of me and my needs. He loves me. So I come back to Horeb...to remember.
Thank you Lord for your wonderful care and awesome love. I'm so sorry I worry. I'm so grieved that I doubt. But I come back and fall at your feet and say, Lord, I'm yours, help me.
Psa 37:3 Trust in the LORD and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.
Psa 37:4 Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart.
Psa 37:5 Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it.
Psa 37:6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light And your judgment as the noonday.
Psa 37:7 Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.
Psa 37:8 Cease from anger and forsake wrath; Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing.
Psa 37:9 For evildoers will be cut off, But those who wait for the LORD, they will inherit the land.
Saturday, March 10, 2007
Act 4:12 "And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved."
Friday, March 09, 2007
Jas 1:3 You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors.
Jas 1:4 So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.
Jas 1:5 If you don't know what you're doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You'll get his help, and won't be condescended to when you ask for it. (THE MESSAGE)
Problems.....trials.....tests.....temptations....they are part of life. It's the fire we need to refine us. Don't resent problems, understand their purpose and thrive through them.
But, most of the time, I consider tests a real bother in my life. I constantly have to remember these verses, and realize that these tests are meant to help me, not hurt me.
Lord, help me to see my problems and struggles through your eyes.
Thursday, March 08, 2007
Rom 12:2 Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
Christians are funny...we don't realize that we aren't like the world. And yet we try to fit in. We try to look like those around us. We try to wear the "world costumes." We don't do it well. The world notices that we are different. They aren't fooled so why do we try to be like those around us? Why do we try to look like the world? God invites us to be like him. He invites us to stand out...to be God's men and women in a world without hope.
Our "world costumes" look silly on us, and yet we try to fit in....let me encourage you to be what God made you to be.....transformed into the image of Christ.
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
Monday, March 05, 2007
It will be exciting to see how God works in our church in the days ahead. I really do see good things ahead. The last few months have been very difficult for our church, but I think these days have actually made our church family even stronger. I can't wait to see what God is going to do next.
Friday, March 02, 2007
Pro 2:6 For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.
Pro 2:7 He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity,
Pro 2:8 Guarding the paths of justice, And He preserves the way of His godly ones.
Pro 2:9 Then you will discern righteousness and justice And equity and every good course.
Pro 2:10 For wisdom will enter your heart And knowledge will be pleasant to your soul;
Pro 2:11 Discretion will guard you, Understanding will watch over you,
When I come to this passage each month I stop and slow down. I "crawl" through these words. There is more to the chapter, but if you just read these words and believed them you would be a committed bible student for life! Discretion will guard you, understanding will watch over you... what an amazing statement! These are the results of hearing God's word and allowing it to change your mind and heart....and as a result it seems there are some other things working for us too. It's just a fascinating passage....I just wanted to share a portion of it with you. If you aren't in the word daily, try reading the chapter in Proverbs that matches the day of the month. Read through it for one month, and let me know what you find.