Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Light and Power

 Ephesians 1:15-23

Light. I love light. I love that darkness cannot remain in its presence. I love the thought of my heart being flooded with it (as the NLT says in Ephesians.) The flooding means that it washes into every crack and crevice. It washes into my brokenness. It runs like a river through my heart, washing away the darkness. It doesn't "fix" the cracks. They don't go away, but they're no longer dark, hidden, scary.

And here's what it reveals: a confident hope, holiness, a rich and glorious inheritance. My holiness?! What? Really? Me... holy? YES! He has made me holy. He has made you holy if you are in Christ. We are a holy people. We have an inheritance in Him. But this isn't talking about our inheritance... it talks about His inheritance... US! WE are the inheritance. We are the treasure. We are His inheritance--His rich and glorious inheritance! What?! Me? Us? But we're such a mess! We bicker and fight. We compare and compete. We "friend" and "unfriend" one another at the drop of a hat.

Oh Lord, flood our hearts with Your light so that we can understand... so that we will have the confident hope that we are Your holy people--set apart by You--that we are Your inheritance--Your rich and glorious inheritance--Your treasure.

Maybe once we have that understanding, we'll quit bickering and fighting, comparing and competing, friending and unfriending. Flood our hearts, Lord.

And here's the key--we somehow think that this holiness thing is up to us--that we need to make ourselves holy. Goodness, if we could do that Jesus wouldn't have had to die! There is only one way we can become holy--by the power that raised Christ from the dead. Not only that, but it also seated Him the the place of honor at God's right hand. Now He reigns with authority! Sometimes it may not feel like it because He seems to allow things that I wouldn't allow if I were in charge. But I am not in charge, and we can all be thankful for that! I'd be more like Bruce Almighty and I'd make a mess of things.

So, instead of trying to be good, instead of trying to control everything and everyone, I'll seek that Light to flood my heart--to give me an understanding of the power that raised Christ from the dead--and maybe, just maybe, I'll start living more like the treasure--the inheritance that God's Word says I am!

Sunday, July 26, 2015


Mark 16:9-14 

Three paragraphs--three cases of disbelief.

The disciples were in shock. All their hopes and dreams were crushed. Life didn't turn out like they had planned. They were mourning and weeping when Mary Magdalene burst into the room with the most wonderful news!

But, like the Shunamite woman, (2 Kings 4) they were emotionally too frail to entertain such a thought. It was too much of a risk to believe that, just maybe, he was alive. They had already been devastated--their hope for any kind of future--everything they had staked their lives on--was gone... dead. It was just too risky to believe.

May I never be too afraid to believe. Even if it means making myself vulnerable... at risk of being hurt... Lord, help me to believe.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Who Will Roll the Stone Away?

Mark 16:1-8 

"But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away."

So, I heard once, and just remembered, that the stone was not rolled away so that Jesus could get out--He later disappeared and reappeared in different places in the blink of an eye. No stone could keep Him in that grave.

The stone was rolled away so that the women and other disciples (anyone, the world really) could get IN... so that they (we) could see evidence of the resurrection. The stone was rolled away to reveal the resurrection of Jesus. The rolling away of the stone was a divine miracle.

Their savior was dead. Their only hope was buried in a tomb, sealed with a bolder, guarded by soldiers. Their future was bleak. They must have felt abandoned, deserted, cheated, defeated, lost and hopeless. They had staked their future on this man. They had washed his feet with their tears, they had given Him their lives. They had left everything for Him, sacrificed for Him, risked their lives by following Him. And now it was over... dead and buried. Though He was dead, their love for Him was not. They couldn't stay away.

That's what women do... they faced their pain, their fear. They took a risk. They bought the spices and went. Knowing the guards would be there didn't phase them. They didn't even mention them. Their only concern was the stone--How would they move the stone? Who would help them?

Peter? He wasn't with them. John? He too, was nowhere to be found. Where are all the big strong burly fishermen? Cowering in fear? Reeling in disappointment, confusion, hopelessness, grief?

Not the women. Not even in the midst of their confusion and hopelessness, they did what they knew needed to be done. They bought the spices and went. They didn't stop caring about this man who changed their lives. Even in His death, and the death of all they had hoped for, they continued caring. They went and bought spices to anoint his dead body, knowing that they would face temple guards and Roman soldiers and a ginormous stone--all in place to keep them from Jesus. But that didn't stop them. They spent their hard-earned money on spices anyway and began their journey. They fully intended to get to Jesus one way or another. Whey weren't sure how that would happen, they knew the stone was there and that they couldn't move it, but they went anyway. They bought the spices anyway. They knew the guards were there. They knew the stone was there--both great obstacles, but they went anyway. They went by faith and their obstacles were miraculously moved out the of their way.

What is keeping me from Jesus? What stands between me and the resurrection What is the stone in my life that can only be moved by an act of God? What step of faith am I to take? What is it that I need to do to show my love for Jesus?

What is keeping me from Jesus? Busyness? Addictions to facebook, email, food, pleasures, entertainment, hobbies, work, laziness, selfishness?

What are the spices I need to buy? Where do I need to go? What steps of faith do I need to take in order for these obstacles to be miraculously removed?

How do I need to show my love for Jesus--even when He disappoints me? Even when life doesn't go the way I believe it should? Even when I feel confused and hopeless? Even when my future looks dark and scary?

It takes time to hear from Jesus. It takes stillness, quiet and solitude. I need to put down the phone, the ipad, the laptop. Turn off the TV, close the refrigerator, put away the "stuff."

Friday, July 24, 2015

Just One More Sign

Mark 15:25-32 

"Just one more sign," they said. "We need just one more sign, then we'll believe."

He had walked among them, doing signs and miracles for years. Even His birth was a miracle. But they still needed an sign--just one more sign before they could believe.

Some had already believed--a ragamuffin group of smelly fishermen, crooked tax collectors, prostitutes--sinners--common people... divorcees, sickly people, the demon-possessed... They had believed.

But the leaders of the church--the pious ones--the "good," upstanding, pillars of the church... they  wanted one more sign. Just one more sign.

And what if Jesus had fulfilled their wish for that sign? What if He had come down off that cross? Would they have believed Him then? Would it have been enough?

What then? It wouldn't have mattered--none of the other signs would have mattered--nothing would have mattered.

Because if He had come down off that cross, we'd all be doomed to Hell--the religious leaders, the pillars of the church, the fishermen, the tax collectors, the thieves, the prostitutes and divorcees, the sickly ones and the demon-possessed--we'd all be going to Hell.

Jesus had to pay the price for us, or we'd all be doomed. If He hadn't finished His work, none of the prior signs and miracles would have mattered--it would have been all for naught.

Stop looking for a sign--it's already been done. It's all right in front of you. Only believe. It is finished.