Tuesday, April 26, 2011
As the man who we call Lord
Bent down to pray
For His crucifying day.
He was then betrayed
By one who once obeyed
Then came the mobs angry roar
A noise to be abhorred.
It shook the disciples to their feet
Peter charged at a crowd that he couldn't beat
He sliced an ear and started a war
Which Jesus healed without leaving a scar.
Then Jesus went without a fight
A holy and crushing sight
He told Peter he would deny
Before the rooster crowed three times.
The disciples turned coat and fled
Leaving Jesus for dead
He was brought before the people
Given one chance to be free.
But because of His father's will
He was sent to be killed
They cracked and broke Him
Slicing and stabbing without compassion.
Then He carried
Up a gloomy hill
His cross of judgment
The price for sin sagging on His shoulder
Then the nails pounded in
His hand limp by His sides
They propped Him up
Next to two thieves, one which He would glorify.
After he was forsaken
By His Master from above
He gave up His spirit
And died on that tree.
Devastated and lonely
The disciples sat without hope
Until the third day came
And Jesus awoke.
Raised, He taught and loved them
Until He had to return
Leaving them with a gift
And a command to spread His word.
Thursday, April 21, 2011
But Easter reminds us that the guilty are not hopeless. Mercifully, God has provided a way for guilty sinners to have their payment paid in full and escape death. This remarkable provision is called grace. It is the loving action of God expressed to undeserving sinners whereby He delivers them from the just penalty for their sins, namely death. The magnificent news of Easter is that, through Jesus Christ, God paid the price for everyone who would ever believe in Him by putting His own Son to death on the Cross. Sacred Scripture reads, "For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust . . ." (1 Peter 3:18). God intervened in grace to help the helpless, free the imprisoned, and pardon the guilty. But the cost was great. It cost Jesus Christ His own life, for "by the grace of God Jesus tasted death for everyone" (Hebrews 2:9).
But that leaves an apparent dilemma--all men still die! So, what good did Jesus' death really do? Unspeakable good! Easter is the answer. The culmination of God's grace in action through Jesus Christ for us was demonstrated most powerfully in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. The resurrection of Jesus proved that His payment for our sins was accepted by God. Since He paid our debt in full, death has no more hold on Him, or on those who believe in Him. And that's why we celebrate Easter. That which once kept us in fear, namely death, no longer should be feared by the believer in Christ. The payment has been made. Grace has triumphed over guilt--"God raised Jesus up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power" (Acts 2:24). Therefore, now, death is for the believer in Jesus a passageway into the very presence of God. The resurrection of Jesus has made it so.
Easter is the celebration of Payment Day for the believer. Jesus Christ took away our guilt and paid our debt, and God's grace deserves all the glory. The ever-present foe of death has been beaten by the risen Christ. Let every believer rejoice this Easter and humbly say, "O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting." Thanks be to God who has given us the victory in Christ Jesus risen from the dead.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
I was blessed on several occasions to enter homes a quarter of the size of the average American home. In comparison of what we’re accustomed to here in the States, these tiny dwellings would be shunned by most as subpar at best. But because of the hearts of those who resided within, these homes were some of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. No, I didn’t marvel at the finest of China, or at the elegance of furniture, but instead, I was overwhelmed with the warmth of Christlike generosity and humility of service. Wherever we went, these dear brothers and sisters greeted us with the genuineness of, “Mi Casa Es Su Casa” – and boy did they mean it.
You see, these Dominican believers weren’t worried about décor or shallow appearances; they were concerned with making us feel welcomed and loved. They opened their hearts to us, and that transformed their humble dwellings into palatial palaces. They reminded me that it doesn’t take much to make people feel special, but it does take sincerity of heart. Hebrews 13:2 says, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.” I wonder if in fact, it was I who was in the company of angels. O’ how much of the true experience of the “love of the brethren” do we forfeit because we don’t understand that our homes are simply an extension and expression of our hearts. Or maybe, that’s actually the problem—our homes are closed because our hearts are closed.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
In verses 13-20 of this passage, Mark records one of the most dramatic changes in all the Bible, illustrating for us the delivering power of Christ and the resultant change that accompanies it. The demon possessed man encounters Christ and everything in his life changes:
- His Character Changed --> Before Christ he was running around naked in the desecrated tombs and caverns among the stinch and filth of rotting dead bodies. His mind was tortured as he constantly gashed himself with rocks. But after he experienced the delivering power of Christ, he was found sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind (v. 15)
- His Company Changed --> Before Christ he was isolated from humanity, held captive by the host of demons. But after Christ delivered him, he was begging Jesus "to be with Him"; a sure posture of discipleship (v.18)
- His Conversation Changed --> Before Christ he was screaming and howling like a wild beast and speaking the vile words of evil spirits. But after he experienced the power of Jesus, he went about proclaiming the great things that the Lord had done for him (v.20)
Yea, no doubt about his change. And that's what thrills my soul to witness. No, I've never known anyone who has been delivered from demon possession, but God does give me the privilege and joy to know people who have been delivered from their sins by the power of Jesus Christ, and the change they experience is still amazing.
Monday, October 12, 2009
In Genesis 12, we find God's sovereign covenant with Abram. Here, God intervenes in human history with the promise that "in you all the families of the earth will be blessed" (v.3). The astonishing point about this passage is that in one sentence, God reveals, in short-hand form, His plan for the world. Notice that "in you" is a reference to Christ (cf. Gal. 3:16), "shall be blessed" is a reference to the gospel (cf. Gal. 3:8), and "all the families of the earth" is an obvious reference to global missions. So it is clear that the subsequent unfolding of redemptive history as it relates to this Abrahamic Covenant is about Christ, the gospel, and global missions.
Friday, September 25, 2009
Monday, June 22, 2009
But as wonderful as my Father’s Day was on yesterday, it was sprinkled with a bit of sadness. Interestingly, the sadness snuck up on me as I was driving with my kids in route to pick up my father for an afternoon of pizza and bowling. The cause of my sadness was the visible silence that spoke so clearly of the state of fatherhood, particularly in the African-American community.
As I drove down Crenshaw Blvd. I became acutely aware of the absence of any corner vendors selling gifts for fathers. Why did that make me sad? Because just a month ago that same stretch of road was strewn with hundreds of vendors selling various gifts for Mother’s Day, and folks were crowded around them like bees on honey. But nothing for fathers! Absolutely nothing! Now, granted there are far more gifts that are appropriate for mothers; but no vendors at all? Not even someone selling ties, hats or socks. Surely some of us fathers like coffee mugs and T-shirts that say #1 Dad. But nothing! And that made me sad.
But it made me sad at a deeper level – a level that pains me to talk about. For what I saw, or did not see, was simply a metaphor in my mind for the horrid state of fatherhood in my community. It said to me that fathers don’t really matter. The absence of the vendors on the corner signified to me the absence of fathers in the home. To our own demise, we have learned how to live without fathers, which is not living at all. For God designed the home to have a head, and that head is the father (Eph. 6:4). But if the father is not there, with all do respect to God-fearing praying mothers, that family is headless. And headless things can’t survive for long, if at all.
So my Father’s Day was good, but it reminded me of the great need of the gospel of Jesus Christ for my community, particularly in the area of family life. For only Jesus Christ can “restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers” (Mal. 3:6). I pray that if the Lord tarries and I live to see another Father’s Day that Crenshaw Blvd. will be filled with corner vendors selling their goods in recognition of the essential nature and role of fathers.