Twice each year Christians celebrate dates associated with events in the life of Christ. The significance of these events remains a key foundation for Christianity. The birth of our savior would be made meaningless had not the second event occurred. It is the most important single event in all of history.
Three days, mark for all mankind, an unparalleled turning point in the universal order. The death, and resurrection of Jesus, changed the status of man and his relationship to God forever. Without this, Christ would be nothing more than another holy man. With it, we have a believable assurance toward the gift of salvation. All men can be drawn unto Him because He was lifted up. The price for sin has been paid, once and for all; death has lost its sting. No longer is it necessary to make sacrifice to atone for sin; Christ is our atonement. He has done what no mere man could ever do; being the unblemished sacrifice, perfect in every way.
To help understand the real essence of what took place, I am sharing these posts of early essays, written back when I first started my public writing. They still hold my feelings and have meaning for this celebration of Christ's Resurrection.
The Gift (April 15, 2006)
John the Baptist was in prison, and probably knew that he was going to die. He had preached the news of Jesus, that he would come to set things right, The New King. This same Jesus didn't seem to have an army. Instead He hung out with the poor, the lepers, and other publicans. Having doubts he sent his disciples to get some answers. When asked about it Jesus gave simple instructions “Go and tell him what you have seen." We must all keep in mind that often times we won't receive what we expect. However; what we do get is a hundredfold better than what we need. Jesus came into the world at the Will of the Father. His very life was an act of LOVE, and a benefit for all mankind. The death and resurrection of Christ was necessary for forgiveness. Had judgment been rendered with the first coming, all mankind would have been lost. "For all have sinned", so who could have been saved. Jesus died so that we might live. The power of His Holy blood and it alone gives us the chance at redemption. It was not the power and might, that John the Baptist sought, but the humility, in the selfless act of sacrifice. This was the unexpected gift of LOVE that was, and is the most powerful gift of all. "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13)
As we attend service, Spend time with our families, or otherwise celebrate this time... I urge you to reflect on what a great and personal gift was given us by Jesus Christ, with this life changing event.
Reason (July 6, 2006)
Genesis 3:6-7 (NIV)
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
Selfish... or selfless, it's a question of position. Which position a person takes is one thing, but which one they hold is another ball of wax. The word desire is introduced at the very start in the story of man. God imparted it as part of man's original package. In the beginning our desires were led by God. We followed His will and all our desire was good. The free will of man had the influence of God, who could only instill righteousness. As a result of this, man's will and the will of God, were one and the same. There was perfect fellowship. God's plan for our lives was always to give us and allow us the very best. In the beginning our choice was focused on His perfect will.
One of the tools of Satan, used in spiritual warfare is temptation. It is probably his most effective and most often used. We see above that it was the one used in the fall of man. Temptation was used to corrupt the will and desire of man. Satan only had to play with the desire that was already in place. Once the fruit had been eaten, the perfect influence of God was no longer the only voice that man would hear. The groundwork for ongoing temptation, or evil desire had been set. Satan, looking to rob us of our focus, found a way to corrupt God's plan. He added to our ability to choose. With his deception we had to contend with reason, long before we were ever ready to handle it. Every time we make a choice we try to attach reason to the choice we make. Even when it's a bad choice we want to justify it. Reason for us is really confusion. We need the wisdom of God, and the help of the Holy Spirit, in order to obtain righteousness. This is the key to salvation, to accept Christ as a savior. Without Him in our lives, to strengthen our commitment to His will... we fall back on our reason. Remember, most reasons are nothing but dressed up excuses. It's like this, when He comes, what will you stand on... His righteousness... or your reason!!
Jesus knew the power of man's desire as well as what would result if we were left to the temptations of Satan. In His example of prayer, He teaches us to ask our Father in Heaven: "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil..." Jesus knew that the evil temptations of Satan would come to influence our power of desire.
John 17:15 (NIV)
My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.
There are some very good reasons for staying in this world, for one there are others that must hear the message of Christ's salvation. Those who follow Christ and bring that message must learn to resist the evil one. This corrupt place is the best training ground for both Satan's tactics and following the direction of the Holy Spirit.
All is not lost, for God is still in control. Satan corrupted man, not God! We were redeemed and given the gift of salvation, if we only believe. To believe in Christ is to trust in his Word. After all, Jesus is the Word. When we study His word... and I do mean study, we learn to hear and recognize His voice again. As in any relationship, choice of involvement is key. You must want and desire to be there. If you make wanting a relationship with God... YOUR REASON... you have the best choice possible. This is what reconciliation to the fellowship of God through Christ Jesus is all about. Things can be restored as they were in the beginning.
John 3:16-19 (NIV)"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.
It all comes down to your reasons behind the God given power of desire that you have. What will be your choice? God Himself is asking the question... think hard about your answer.
1 John 5:18 (NIV)
We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him.
1 John 5:19 (NIV)
We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.
Deuteronomy 30:19 (NIV)
This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.
I hope and pray each and every day that you all find "GOOD REASON" to choose life. It's in the Will of God.... found in His Word. Your place in eternity should be all the "REASON" that you need.