The Final Chronicle

Can you imagine what the disciples might be feeling right now? It is late Saturday night. Jesus, the teacher, mentor and friend, was crucified yesterday.

What a mixture of emotions! Fear…disappointment…failure? What about anger and loneliness?

These men and women would have thought or even expected Jesus to overthrow the Roman rule and set up His kingdom. They were supposed to be on the winning side!

But now, huddled together, in the shadows, hiding from the authorities, they wait.

Scared and confused.

What would they be waiting for? They probably didn’t know themselves.


Welcome to the Final Chronicle in this Easter series; Chronicles of Calvary.

I have written about some people and even a lamb but tonight’s post will not feature a person. Nor an animal.

It focuses on something different. Something unexpected.

A hill.

A hill called Calvary.

Calvary, also called Golgotha, is located just outside the city of Jerusalem.

Maps - New Testament Bible Maps by Generation Word

This hill, not much more than an outcropping of rock, is the turning point.

On the surface, this hill represents torture, blood, and death. In human eyes, justice is served.

But underneath all of that lies a much different story.

The script is flipped.

Yes, there is still death. Jesus dies. He had to. That was the only way.

Sin is powerful and even victorious – if left unchecked.

But God was never planning on letting it go unchecked.

He had a plan. He always has a plan.

  • Simon was part of God’s plan
  • The Centurion played his part in God’s plan
  • Both criminals were in the plan as well
  • The little lamb that represents the sacrifice for sin is central to the plan

Calvary is part of His plan.


Life is not about you or me.

It is about what God is doing and whether or not we will join Him.

And it all happened on a single hill. God won.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I hope it was worth your time.

Shadows, the good kind.

Last week, we discussed how shadows can be harmful to our faith. We can be afraid of the shadows in life. But we also know that God is light and the shadows have no power against God. Click here if you want to read last week’s post.


Ponder your shadow for a moment.

Other than our vision, how else do we perceive a shadow?

You can’t touch it. Rather, it touches you. Do you feel it?

It makes no sound and you certainly can’t taste it.

But can a shadow interact with our physical world?

As with most (probably all things) things, we can look to God’s Word for some answers.

Dealing with shadows is no different.

Here are the verses in Acts that originally prompted me to write about shadows in the first place.

12The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade. 13No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. 14Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. 15As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. 16Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed.” Acts 5:12-16 NIV

Did you catch v. 15? Apparently, there was power in Peter’s shadow!

I see a process here. If I may, let me break that process into each step.

  1. Verse 14 says that “more and more…believed…” God was doing miraculous work in peoples’ spiritual lives.
  2. Verse 15 states, “As a result…”. Result of what? The salvation that these people were experiencing. The people must have been thinking that God can heal physical issues as well as spiritual issues.
  3. Faith was being bolstered by the numbers of salvations. When people get saved, there is always rejoicing.
  4. Due to this new hardy faith, people were taking physical action. It seems that action will follow a decision.
  5. This action led them to find the disciples, specifically, Peter. Verse 12 explains the interest in find these men.
  6. Faith surpasses proximity. Peter did not even need to touch these people. God’s power finds people of faith.
  7. Physical healings took place. God will sometimes meet spiritual needs before physical needs. Other times, it is reveresed. Either way, it was evident that there was an outpouring of God’s power.
  8. God gets the glory. Regardless of how the healing happens or even if it spiritual or physical, God is the one who is doing the healing. Yes, Peter was involved but God only because God chose to use him in this moment.
St Peter Following St John As He Heals The Sick With Shadow" Paper Art,  34"x46" - Traditional - Prints And Posters - by Global Gallery

While we live through our days, we encounter negative shadows practically every day. But God is so faithful. He can turn bad, fearful, and scary shadows into live-giving shadows.

First of all, look to God. Desire Him, not what He can do.

Once we get that priority straight, God can start to move us through the process I described earlier.

Because God is all-powerful and equally mysterious, He will do what He wants, when He wants to.

Keep close to Him and enjoy the ride!

A life lived for God is never lived in disappointment!

Even the angels…

Hello friends!

I realize it has been a while since I posted. Busy times.

In the meantime though, there have been two ideas rolling around in my head.

idea cloud

But let me catch you up first, in case you have missed my posts.

catch up

For the last number of posts, I have been going through I Peter. Today, this post will cover through verses 8-12 of chapter 1. Click here for the most recent post.

I have also stated that it seems to be taking a long time. Well, so what. Okay, on to verse 8.


Here is the first of the two ideas that have been taking up space in my brain:

1. I have never seen Jesus but I have given my whole life to Him.

“Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” I Peter 1:8-9

More than just getting something, I have purpose.

My life is justified in Jesus. There is hope.

In a word, salvation.

It would take many more posts to explain all the many facets of salvation and the scriptures that support them. I probably have other posts that would accomplish this but I don’t recall which ones would have that information. Maybe read a few of them…?

Now, as for the second idea…

2. Angels are curious.

Apparently, angels are concerned with the things of man. God sends these heavenly being to do His bidding. Human life would be vastly different if there were no angels.

But about this salvation…they are curious. They don’t get the same perspective that we get. The Holy Spirit resides in those who follow Christ. That spirit empowers us to live according to God’s purpose. God, via the Holy Spirit, is with us every step of our lives.

Angels don’t that privilege.

sad-angel

“Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of the Messiah and the glories that would follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.” I Peter 1:10-12

Have you ever been to a sting ray tank? You can buy little fish and feed these magnificent creatures. Watching them glide through the water is amazing. It is really cool how you can look over the side to see into their world.

You want to lean close to get a good glimpse or maybe even to touch one of them as they swim by.

stingray

That is how the angels feel about us!

Even the angels long to look into these things…they want to know about us and our world!

I am greatly encouraged by these things. God is really cool that way.

Do you believe in magic?

When my kids were young (think 4 or 5 years old), I could do magic tricks easily. Pulling quarters out of ears or making a penny disappear were standard. Throw in a few cards tricks and they would be amazed.

magic-tricks

As an adult, I enjoy a good magic show. It amazes me how these magicians can make big things disappear! How does a helicopter vanish into thin air!?!?

But all of that is just slight-of-hand or misdirection. The helicopter does not really vanish.

The Word – Magic

The Worth – God is magic. No, not Harry Potter magic or Gandalf the Grey type stuff. He really can make stuff disappear!

magician

If you have not read the post “What do you want?”, please click here. It will give you a context that will make more sense when reading this post.

In that post, I had written a line near the end;

He took action so we can take action.

Let me unpack that a little more.

2 Corinthians 5:21 states, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

John 1 tells us to “behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

This is God doing magic! He took away the sin of the world. He made it disappear! The action that God took was to make it possible for us to be sinless. We now can become the righteousness of God!

He loved us so much and was longing to be connected with us again. He wanted us so much that he took His son and used Him to take away our sin.

When I was 16, I got my first speeding ticket. This was 1989 so it probably was not too much of a fine. It was more embarrassing because I had three friends in the car with me!

I broke the law and deserved to pay the fine. But then my dad performed a magic trick.

He told that he would pay for the first one. He paid my ticket. That was both merciful and gracious all in one simple act.

God did a magic trick 2000 years ago. Jesus became our sin. See Isaiah 53:6

cross bridge

The Work – This part takes faith.

Understand that Jesus is the way back to God.

Jesus also took our sin upon Him.

Our part is to accept that payment. Just like my dad paying my speeding fine, we can accept this gift.

We can now live our life because of what has already been done.

Stop trying to earn salvation and enjoy the magic that God has performed!

Live to reflect your righteousness!

After all, God is not going to bring back your sin.

You are free. Go out and live it!

 

Bacon and Eggs

A chicken and a pig were talking one day. They were expressing their joy of living on the farm. Specifically, Farmer Joe’s farm. Having Farmer Joe take care of them was really a joy for these animals. So much so, they decided to throw a big breakfast in the farmer’s honor. Upon reviewing menu options, it was decided that Bacon and Eggs would be served. The chicken said that he was in support of this idea. After realizing what this breakfast would mean, the pig replied to the chicken saying, “You may be involved but I am committed!”

bacon-and-eggs

 

The Word – Committed

The Worth – Does this word scare anybody? People say men are afraid of commitment. As a minister, I talk with couples about marital commitment. My dad told me a long time ago that commitment is the most important aspect of a marriage. Are you committed to your family, your job, your passions?

Did you know that God is committed? How many times does the Bible talk about His grace, forgiveness, mercy, and unfailing love? This blog would take hours to read if I put all those verses in the post. So I am going to narrow it down to two verses.

Click on the verse to read the whole chapter.

John 3:16 “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.”

Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

God did not do salvation half way. He didn’t just provide enough to barely pass. He was committed! So much that His own son hung on a cross for you and for me. Our sins were paid for by the blood of Jesus. Everything you and I need for life (and even abundant life!) is found in the cross.

God loves us too much to be less than anything other than 100% committed!

The Work – So how is it even possible for me to live for God in return knowing I cannot repay Him?

You can’t. Accept the gift and live for God. Do your best for Him. Daily apply grace and mercy to your situation and keep moving forward. The Holy Spirit is right along side of you. Even after Jesus left this earth, the Holy Spirit was sent so we would not be alone.

God is fully committed. Are you?

commitment-quotes