GOD Salvaged my Life: an Easter Message

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John 12:13 ESV

So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!”

Palm Sunday – images from pixabay.com

Palm Sunday, the Holy Week, The Crucifixion and then . . . .

Philippians 2:8 ESV

And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Jesus to Golgotha – images from pixabay.com

The Celebration Resurrection Sunday

Luke 24:1-53 ESV 

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? …

Resurrection 2 – images from pixabay.com

I grew up learning about GOD but shunned everything I could as an adult.

Broken Person – images from pixabay.com

The truth about good and evil never left me.  Still I became an hedonistically autonomous adult free to exercise free will for ill in everything I could as I ignored all I had been taught:  Yes, some of the principles nagged at me but that did not deter my living hedonistically. Eventually I came to realize “I” did not possess the power to make things the way I thought they should be. Not only was I limited, frustrated and angry I was on the road to self destruction.

Saved for Eternity – images from pixabay.com

One night I turned to GOD; I went deep into a summer corn field threw away the whiskey bottles; Looked up and yelled I give up, I will do it your way. Jesus came into my heart and for a brief moment I though the clouds parted a choir sung Amen. I seemed to float back to my house. I knew everything had change. Within twenty four hours I was inundated with people who told me they were praying for me. I was a new creation and I had a new life.

Romans 10:9 ESV

Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Jesus Gave Me a New Life

New Person – images from pixabay.com
New Life – images from pixabay.com

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The Nature of Rebellion

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Cain and Abel
Doing Wrong like His Parents – images from pixabay.com

It is a common expectation that as humans leave childhood behind and approach adulthood we question, test and often rebel.

Rebellion: Day One – images from pixabay.com

The quest to influence life from our emerging person-hood based on what we know (or think we know) is natural; the questioning and expressing what we believe to be correct and even new is good as long as it is done with respect for our elders and GOD.

Older People Can Advise Best – images from pixabay.com

Ignoring what our elders know and, have drawn from life’s experiences may seem trite, incorrect, motivated by blind obedience or just passe’ but remember they have learned from actual experience. In the best situations the adolescent soon to become an adult, emerges with little harm to him or her self or to others but, that is not always so:

1 Kings 12:6 ESV

Then King Rehoboam took counsel with the old men, who had stood before Solomon his father while he was yet alive, saying, “How do you advise me to answer this people?”  …

He Rejected the advice of the old men; instead relied on advice of young men (his peers).

1 Kings 12:8

But he abandoned the counsel that the old men gave him and took counsel with the young men who had grown up with him and stood before him. …

Wave of Rejection – images from pixabay.com
If you read the whole story you will learn his decision ended up being a disaster.

 

Change Before Wisdom – images from pixabay.com
Many times it seems we humans rather learn from the mistakes we ourselves make (the hard way), then from the wisdom given by our elders (the easy way).

The Old Testament Book of Judges Reveals this pattern clearly: Ignore GOD suffer consequences then return to GOD;

Ignore GOD suffer consequences then return to GOD;

Ignore GOD suffer consequences then return to GOD;

over and over . . . .

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Revenge: The Cycle of Death

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Revenge – images from pixabay.com

Revenge or Forgive?

Romans 12:19 ESV 

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”

We Christians are like any other human beings if we are wronged or injured by another we have an upwelling of animosity that if left uncontrolled can lead us to take revenge: deliver harm to the perpetrator or their associates. The above verse points to a higher order response: let GOD handle it. Easy to say but hard to do.

Sometimes it takes a Christian response to end a cycle of  violent reprisals

Cycles of War – images from pixabay.com

The infamous feud between the Hatfields and McCoys in the West Virginia Kentucky areas in the USA is well know.  Adolf Hitler’s obsession to take revenge on the several of the World’s Nations for inflicting what the German people viewed as too harsh a price to pay for agreeing to end World War I.  That obsession to inflict more than vengeance but to dominate other people and even the plan to annihilate some  lead to the most widespread destruction and death toll the World had ever experienced.  Could all that anguish and misery been avoided if the following verses were to have been applied?

Trust GOD to Deliver Justice – images from pixabay.com

Romans 12:17-21 ESV 

Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Oppressed, enslaved, conquered?

Non Violent Leaders – images from pixabay.com
Know History but Forgive and Move on
Gandhi, Dr. King and Mandela all understood all too well to give their respective people the best chance for peaceful and productive future was to work diligently at ending a cycle of violence by embracing a non-violent philosophy.

Isaiah 40:31 ESV

But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

 Do you want a better future for your children? Can you forgive and forget?

A Bright Future for them – images from pixabay.com
Happy Children – images from pixabay.com

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The Now is All we Can Count On in this World

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Time Moves On – images from pixabay.com

Living in the Past? Living in the Future?

My brother an I would plan the next meal even as we were consuming the current one. Why? Was it because that was what our lives centered on? That priority seems so shallow just worrying about our next breath, food or drink. This fixation could have been an obsession at times – whether conscious or subconscious. This undoubtedly is a short sighted view my brother and I shared with animal life.

Next Big Meal – images from pixabay.com

Matthew 6:31-33

Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

In every generation some die young and some die when they are old but most at some age in between.

Never Ending Cycle – images from pixabay.com

We cannot be certain about tomorrow; too many young adults have died recently from the flu, drug overdoses, murders or for unknown reasons – this is sad. I know parents and other older relatives are especially hard hit. There is nothing that can completely alleviate the pain and sadness but, having a strong relationship with GOD through the acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and saviour can be a great comfort.  This is at its greatest level of comfort when the surviving parents, relatives and friends know that the decedent was a Christian tusting Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. In that belief they will see them once again in the eternal life that Jesus has promised all who have believed in Him.

Are you Counting on Jesus or Worldly Things

GOD – images from pixabay.com

Luke 12:16-20 ESV

And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’

Jeanne 1 (C) James Halifko
Transformed – images from pixabay.com

The life as a new creation in Christ Jesus begins with accepting Him and becoming His follower.

2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

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