Friday, January 20, 2012

"I've Got You Covered!"

Dear Readers:

Among Christians, especially conservative Christians, there is much debate over the merits of women wearing head coverings. Some will even use the word apostasy attached to the non-wearing of them. I, however, want to talk about a more important covering, if you will. It is the blood covering of Christ on a person who is a believer in Him.

I was having a bad week recently at work. I was not meeting the productivity requirements and my boss was talking to me each day about it. That, along with new programs and my new supervisory role got me down. I was feeling like a real failure. I even wrote on Facebook the fact that I needed “help”.

I had many wonderful encouragements from family, friends, and my pastor. I prayed during the evening about it. The next morning I awoke early and was not able to go back to sleep before I needed to get ready for work. I turned on the TV and watched a preacher whom I never spent much time watching before. One statement he made seemed directed toward me and my condition of worry.

I don’t know the exact wording, but it went something like this. “God is very powerful. He can see through walls, and into the hearts of men. He is all powerful...but He is not able to do one thing.” This statement sparked my interest. What in the world would God not be privy to? Who was this preacher and what nonsense was he going to spout off?

I was ready to tune this preacher out and turn him off, when he made the following statement. He said, again I paraphrase, “God cannot see the failures and sins of a person bought and covered by the blood of the Lamb”. In other words God cannot see any sin or failure in me when I’m in Christ and covered by His blood.

What a wonderful feeling I had! God cannot see my failures and sins when I bring them under the blood of Jesus. I am a success in His eyes. I asked my wife about this preacher’s statement. She wisely stated that it is like the passing over of the death angel when the Israelites put the sacrificed lamb’s blood on the lintel of their doors. The Israelites were downtrodden and I would guess many of them felt they were failures. But by faith in God they followed God’s command given through Moses and their firstborn sons were saved. What a wondrous picture of the power of the covering of blood. I’m now beginning to know the meaning of the saying, “I’ve got you covered.”

“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ." Ephesians 2:13 (NIV)

See you next time,  

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Whole Town Went Out to Meet Jesus

Dear Readers:

The facts are clear. The Bible gives numerous examples of groups of people gathering near to Jesus. Matthew 8:34 states that even a “…whole town went out to meet Jesus.” Wherever he went there were people scurrying to get close to him.

What was it about him that drew them? Was it his charisma and charm? Was it because of his great leadership skills? Was it due to having great oratory skills in which his words almost came alive?

Another question: Why aren’t people drawn to Jesus now? Why is there limited or no excitement, or buzz if you will, to draw near to Jesus?

I can just hear a person back in Bible times who went to a friend’s home and stated, “Jesus is out on the hillside, let’s go up to hear him. Maybe he’ll perform a miracle. Maybe he’ll let the Pharisees have a piece of his mind. I’m not sure what it is, but there's something different about him. Let’s go up there to see him!”

Where then is the disconnection now? And how can the connection be reestablished? Jesus was crucified, lay in the tomb, and rose after three days. He then went into heaven in the sight of his disciples. Is this where the “buzz” over him ended?

There seems to be excitement over him after that by the disciples explained in the book of Acts when they got together to talk about their experiences with Jesus over what he said and did, and the fact that he truly was the Son of God. And who can ever forget the “tongues of fire” in Acts 2:3 and where “They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts.” Acts 2:46. Don’t these verses just make you wish you would have been there?

Do we need charismatic leaders or great orators to bring us out of our doldrums? Or do we need ordinary folks like you and me to understand who Jesus is, to draw spiritually very close to him, and to accept the power of the Holy Spirit promised in Acts 1:8 to spread the good news of Jesus to all those around us?

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

See you next time,

Thursday, January 5, 2012

"There's Something About That Name"

Dear Readers:

When I first became a Christian in the 70’s there were several Christian singers that I listened to repeatedly. One was Evie and the other was the husband and wife team Bill and Gloria Gaither. Who can ever forget Evie’s “Pass It On” with the famous first line “It only takes a spark to get a fire going…”?

But the song that I loved the most was a simple one verse song by the Gaithers entitled “There’s Something About That Name”. The verse goes like this and is repeated several times.

"Jesus, Jesus, Jesus; there’s just something about that name.
Master, Savior, Jesus, like the fragrance after the rain;
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, let all Heaven and earth proclaim;
Kings and kingdoms will all pass away,
But there’s something about that name."

Gloria Gaither then went on to state, with the music playing, the famous speech about the power, love, and healing that is embodied in the name of Jesus. It’s a name that will last for eternity and can never be snuffed out.

For the year 2012 (“twelve”) my goal is to “delve” into the person and name of Jesus. Corny as it may sound I rhyme the number of the new year with a theme term for the year.

Many churches have specific emphases and they focus on the theme that is emphasized. For Mennonites it may be peace and non-resistance. For Amish it may be living a humble and non-worldly lifestyle. For Nazarenes it may be living a holy life. For Baptists it may be eternal security. For Pentecostals it may be the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues.

All of these things might be good in their own right. But in my opinion they are just pieces of a puzzle. But the full picture is one of Jesus, and Him alone. The verses in Philippians 2:9-11 sum up the power of that wonderful name: 

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

See you next time,