Questions

Dear Friend,

Yesterday was a long, dark Sabbath. I confess I felt as though there was no point at all in observing the Sabbath. God seems to have abandoned us.

If this teacher truly was sent from God, why would God allow such an awful ending to his life? Why cut him off before he had accomplished his mission? What about all those promises God made us?

Or perhaps this wasn’t the one we have been waiting for. Or perhaps… perhaps God has changed his mind.

I was just beginning to hope this man could change the world. Could change our lives. MY life. We couldn’t help but hope, as we listened to his words. He was introducing us to God in a completely new way. At least, I thought I was beginning to see God in all this.

But where was God on Friday?

My friend, I think you’ll understand the dark places my mind is going to. Any hope that had begun to flicker in me was snuffed out on Friday.

 

Friday

Dear Friend,

I hardly know what to write. Yesterday was such a terrible, black day.

You remember the man I’ve been telling you about? The teacher who claimed to be from God? He’s been executed. He’s dead.

Everything happened so fast. He was arrested sometime during the night, and apparently there was a mob and a sham of a trial, and the next thing we knew, he was hanging on a cross out there on Golgotha.

Strange things happened yesterday–and just at the time he died. Unusual darkness. An earthquake. Some trouble at the Temple (the details I’ve heard are unbelievable, impossible, so I still need to find out what the truth is about that incident). And some people are telling wild tales about ghosts walking the streets of the city.

Whoever or whatever he really was, his death seemed to shake heaven and earth.

But all that’s left now is this heavy, hopeless sadness. Evil wins. Again.

 

 

What do you talk to God about?

We make choices—although not always the best choices—when we decide what to talk about and with whom to discuss what’s on our mind. With whom do you discuss your financial concerns? What about emotional trauma? Who are the people you trust to hear you? Family or relationship issues, conflicts at work, dreams for the future, problems with your kids, health issues, political views—all subjects are chosen and filtered, depending on who it is we’re in conversation with.

What do you talk to God about?

I’ve been thinking about this lately because last week I came across a quote from Charles Spurgeon that I can’t forget.

And then this morning, I read Luke 12:6-7, words of Jesus telling us that God doesn’t forget about one little sparrow and His children are so much more loved and cared for than sparrows that He even keeps track of each hair on my head. He must care about the smallest detail of my life—things even I don’t pay attention to.

Yes, I pray about “little” things. I’ve asked Him to remind me where I put something I’ve temporarily “lost,” or I’ve asked for the energy to get through a meeting, or I’ve thanked Him for a beautiful morning sky. Small things in my day. I believe Psalm 37:23 that says He delights in the details of our lives.

The Charles Spurgeon quote, though, prompted me to ponder my belief in God’s power to do the big things.

Of course I believe God is omnipotent. He can do the impossible. Of course I believe that.

I say that… But do my conversations with God show that I believe it?

Spurgeon wrote about God’s greatness. Look at the wonders of the earth, the heavens, the universe. “You may expect great things from Him who made the heavens and the earth… He who made all these things is great in power; therefore, ask something great of Him, when you come before Him in prayer.”

Ask something great of Him.

When I do ask Him for something great, do I have secret reservations? (Ah, but nothing’s secret from God.) Do I doubt He’ll do something spectacular? Do I think He’s limited by earthly boundaries, limits, and realities?

I’ve had to ask myself these questions.

At her brother’s graveside, Martha heard Jesus say to her, “If you believe, you’ll see the glory of God.”

If we believe, what great things will we ask of Him? And what glorious things might we then see?

 

Child of hope, forever King

The One whose birth we celebrate lived a short life and died, seeming to have accomplished little. But just as prophecy had foretold, God’s plan for the world took a giant leap forward because of this Man’s obedience to His mission in life and death.

Now He has been given all authority, supreme over everything in heaven and on earth. No matter what others boast of, He is the one who will have the final victory and who will rule with His justice and rightness. His rule will also bring the peace this exhausted world longs for… and there will be no end to it!

He assures us that He is the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Earth’s few moments of existence are held in His hands—everything began with Him and will end with Him. He has ultimate control.

We, too, are held in His hands. We face whatever comes tomorrow knowing that we belong to Him and He claims us as part of His family.

As the world agonizes through the birth pains of the new world coming, we know that our King will be the King forever.

Oh come let us adore Him!

Jesus told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.”
Matthew 28:18

The Lamb will defeat them… because he is Lord of all lords and King of all kings.
Revelation 17:14

For a child is born to us. The government will rest on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God, Everlasting Father,
Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6

Vine of life

The Light that began burning one dark night in Bethlehem brings a new, different life to everyone who believes.

The Man born that night died… but the Light never did. His death made possible our escape from an empty, hopeless life and gave us a new life.

Then God showed us what He has in mind for us – the Man who had died was brought out of the tomb to live on. God has promised this to all who believe Him. We have been given a life that will never end, and we’re already living that life. In this new life, we have been given the resources and blessings of heaven!

The One born in Bethlehem is the Vine through which this life flows. We no longer have to “work” at this life on our own. He instills a Spirit within us that holds the power we need to do and to be—a Spirit that guides us, molds us, and keeps us connected to our Creator God. This Spirit also connects us to others who live on the Vine, giving us a new, diverse, and far-flung family to support and encourage each other.

We no longer travel alone, helpless, or hopeless. We have a new, immortal life, connected to the life-giving Source.

“Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit.
For apart from me you can do nothing.”
John 15:5 

He saved us… giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.
Titus 3:5 

By his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope.
1 Peter 1:3