Thursday, April 21, 2011

A New Day!

Dear Readers,

How many of you ever moved into a new house, to a new area, or started a new business? How did you feel about the move or the change? Did you feel apprehensive, did you feel full of hope, or did you feel both?

I can remember as a four year old boy my family’s anticipation of moving into a brand new home built by my parents in the beautiful countryside near Berlin, Ohio. Before our move we temporarily occupied the cramped quarters in the back of my uncle’s abandoned store in Bunker Hill.

I have fond memories of our vagabond experience in the apartment in Bunker Hill. My brother and I had fun rolling balls up and down on the sloped living room floor. We along with our cousins frequented the old storefront where we played with the cash register and found various sundry treasures like old squirt guns and bubble gum. Many hours were spent playing basketball with the hoop on the side of the old feed mill. The pungent grain odor and a rumor of many rats residing inside the mill is a distant but distinct memory.

Finally the day came for the move. No more visits to the mud puddles, large dirt piles, and make-shift ramps into the unfinished new house. We packed our belongings and left our year-long vagabond existence to go to a land of spaciousness and a shining, brand new home. What hope and promise we felt. A new day had arrived!

It reminds me of the story of the Israelites after Moses died, and with Joshua they cast lots to see which family would receive a specific tract of the “promised land”. Their fighting was almost over, and they were going to finally move into their new land. What hope! A new day full of promise had arrived. I can almost sense in my spirit their anticipation.

It also reminds me of the spring season and the Easter holiday. Jesus’ crucifixion was a time of great sorrow. Everyone close to Him may have felt like vagabonds not knowing what the future held. They may have shared fond memories of the Messiah and perhaps pondered what the purpose was what they just experienced in the last three years with Jesus.

Then it happened! Jesus was alive! How did it happen? They saw Him die? But here He was, appearing to one person, then another, and finally to many persons!

Then the unthinkable happened! Jesus ascended into the clouds! Before He ascended He told His followers to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19) and to wait until they were “clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). His followers were filled with great joy and they told everyone they met about the news. A great new day had arrived!

See you next time,

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

"For My Yoke Is Easy, and My Burden Is Light"

Dear Readers,

In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus is quoted as saying, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (NKJV)

This can’t be right, can it? I thought our life in Christ is supposed to be hard? I thought we are to suffer persecution? I thought we are to toil to reach a standard of perfection?

I am not a theologian, but it seems Jesus is saying to us that before we come to Christ we labor and are heavy laden with sin and condemnation. He then bids us to “come” to Him.

After we come He says He will give us “rest”. He then says to take His “yoke” because He is “gentle and lowly in heart”. I thought yokes are meant to be confining and perhaps even cruel when we try to pull a heavy load?

He goes on to say that His “yoke is easy and his burden is light”. A yoke cannot be easy and a burden light, can they?

These are just some thoughts to ponder. What do you think?

See you next time,