Monday, March 25, 2013

Is grief your companion today?

As I write this, it is Palm Sunday—the anniversary date of the triumphant entry Jesus made into Jerusalem about a thousand years ago. The people in the crowd shouted praises to Him on that day and felt no sorrow. Happiness and excitement filled their hearts.  Anguish came on Friday. Their King failed to live up to their expectations, so they crucified Him.
This first Sunday of Holy Week is a bittersweet day for me because I know what comes in five days—the anniversary of the crucifixion. We call it Good Friday, but somehow, the term doesn’t quite fit.  Yes, the day turned out good because Jesus conquered sin, but His horrendous suffering breaks my heart. How could Friday have been good for Him? In the sense of a mission complete, no doubt—His action on our behalf transformed beyond magnificent. A job well done, certainly—that turned out more than first-rate.  But the price?  Not good. He lost his human life on this day, one he enjoyed and wanted to keep awhile longer. He prayed to escape death the night before the cross. Yet, He expressed willingness to obey the Father if there was no other way to bring man to God.

He experienced the union of divine nature and human nature at His incarnation. On the human side, He was a servant.  On the divine side, He was a King. He was a perfect human, something no mortal can achieve.
Three days after Good Friday, on Sunday, we have the joyous celebration of his resurrection. He appeared in a glorified body when He came forth from the tomb. After His ascension, He is now gone from us in His earthly existence. We will see Him in heaven where He reigns as King. That is definitely a good thing.

Do you feel sad on Good Friday?
Let me know your thoughts.  I’d love to hear your responses.

 Now, here are a few things for you to consider: Is Jesus still considered a God/Man after His resurrection? He wasn’t incarnate before coming to earth. Did He remain incarnate after ascending to heaven, or did His humanity cease at His resurrection? His glorified body after the resurrection makes me think He retains His God/Man identity.  What do you think?  Comments on these questions?



Monday, March 11, 2013

“What are you doing here?”

The Lord asked Elijah this question as the prophet secreted himself in a cave. The rhetorical question from God made Elijah remember to whom he belonged.
After fighting a mighty battle against the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel—and winning—Elijah’s confidence failed when Jezebel threatened him. He responded with fear and ran away to hide in a cavern.

When the word of the Lord came to him in the form of this inquiry, Elijah replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword.  I am the only one left and now they are trying to kill me too.” I Kings 19:11. NIV.

After Elijah’s response, the Lord showed him the wonders of a massive wind, then an earthquake, and after that, a fire. At the conclusion of these awesome events, the Almighty whispered, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
The great man of God replied with the same answer as before.

God now announced the consequences for Elijah’s panic and failure to trust his God. He would lose his place of service—Elisha would take his place.
After all the marvel of Mt. Carmel, Elijah experienced a lack of faith in God’s continued miracles, but God graciously delayed the penalties.  He allowed the prophet Elijah to mentor his replacement, Elisha.

At the premature conclusion of Elijah's ministry, God sent a chariot of fire to take Elijah to heaven, but Elijah remained an important figure in Israel history. At the Mount of Transfiguration, Elijah appeared with Moses to speak to Jesus.
So what can we learn from the Elijah experience? 

After winning battles, mental and physical fatigue can lead to our spiritual downfall. Use these interludes to immerse ourselves in the Word, rest, and wait for recovery. God’s power of deliverance is not limited to a one-time encounter.
A place of service to the Lord is important to us all and the loss of time or abilities to serve is heartbreaking.  A constant study of God’s power will deliver us from negative feelings set to destroy us.

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