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#Lent#25

Monday, March 30th, 2020

“For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God…For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumblingblock to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.”  (I Cor.1:18, 22-24)

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”  (Romans 1:16)

“For I deliver to you as of first importance what I also received: that Jesus died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scripture.” (I Cor.15:3-4)

There should be no question what we should be teaching and preaching. Not politics. Not “feel good.” Not spirituality. Not health/wealth. Not NAR garbage (gold dust falling from heaven? Grave sucking? You have go to me kidding me!).  Not hype.  Not Miracle Spring Water (seriously?).  JESUS. THE GOSPEL. THE CROSS.

“May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  (Gal.6:14)

#Lent#24

Friday, March 27th, 2020

In yesterday’s devotion, I focused on Jesus conquering death, hell and the grave. Let’s focus a bit more on the latter one today. I absolutely loved John Piper’s statement:

The keys of death were hung on the inside of Christ’s tomb. (p.100)

WOW! I love the picture that gives. As I walk into my house, on the wall to my left is a hook. It is where I put my keys as soon as I walk in the door.  That way I know where they are when/if I need them. When I leave in the morning the last thing I get before I walk out the door is my keys. If I need to run to my truck to get something I know where my keys are. My imagination can do a great picture of this. Just before or as the stone was rolled away, I can picture Jesus reaching over the grabbing the key called “Resurrection” and take it off the hook and walk out.

I simply cannot say it better than Piper did.

The resurrection of Jesus is God’s gift and proof that His death was completely successful in blotting out the sins of His people and removing the wrath of God. (p.100)

It was like God’s stamp on the whole deal. It’s like getting loan papers in the mail with a big stamp of PAID on it. PAID. IN. FULL. The Law was satisfied. The debt was paid.  Eternal life promised.

Oh yeah! He rose!  Signed. Sealed. Delivered. Love that key!!

#Lent#23

Thursday, March 26th, 2020

We often talk about the victory Jesus won at the cross. I myself have -at least a 1000 times 🙂 – said that Jesus conquered death, hell and the grave. And I firmly believe that with all that is within me.  So, I thought it would be good to take a look at that statement real briefly:

  1. He conquered death. Death is considered the ultimate enemy. People are afraid to die. Because of Jesus the Christ-follower has nothing to fear.
  2. He conquered hell. The enemy of our soul- Jesus’ mortal enemy- thought he had won. His goal for us is not in killing us; it is in damning us. He lost the Big One so he goes after the smaller fish (me and you). But we have nothing to fear. Hell is reserved for Satan and his minions.
  3. He conquered the grave. That tomb is empty!!! What once was seen as permanent lost its grip when Jesus rose victorious from that grave. Death could not hold Him. The grave could not contain Him. His physical resurrection was proof He is alive. And although mine might not be seen as dramatic, it really is no less so. One day my body, which is decaying in the ground, will rise to meet my spirit and death will be done forever. The grave will cough up all it holds. All the saints will be given new bodies in a place where we will live forever.

All because Jesus conquered death, hell and the grave. That makes the score Jesus 1 (one and won) / Satan a big fat 0. (zero and loser).

For a little fun this morning give this a listen. Underneath the video hit SHOW MORE for the lyrics.

#Lent#22

Wednesday, March 25th, 2020

Dietrich Bonhoeffer is credited with saying,

When Jesus calls a man, He bids him come and die.

Jesus then set the example. His obedience to His Father meant death. Philippians 2 tells us that: “though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (2:6-8)

Could we have any better example of Someone who fleshed out Bonhoeffer’s statement and became the ultimate example for us? History tells us that crucifixion was a horrible and horrific way to die. And yet He went. Hebrews 12:2 says, “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame…”

To follow Jesus means to come and die.  Maybe not on a cross or a pyre or a guillotine. But we still must die. To self. To selfishness. To pride. To ego. To “me first.” He set an example that we should follow in His steps. (I Peter 2:21)

#Lent#20

Sunday, March 22nd, 2020

With all the talk about “the virus” I thought we needed a reminder that we are still alive and live on a planet made by God, the Creator of all things good.  I came to the office early this morning (Sunday) and about 7:40 I peeked outside. I saw this sunrise and took these pictures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’d say that is a pretty impressive display of God’s creative work wouldn’t you? 

Our service was live streamed on the church’s Facebook page.  I do not have the ability to post it here but if you would like you can go to the church’s website and click on OVCF Facebook Page. You can ask to join and either Diana or Tami will approve it. You can then watch it. I understand (and may be wrong since I am technologically-challenged illiterate) that you can watch it once you are a member of our page.

And remember there is always a sunrise with Jesus. In fact, it was real popular a number of years ago to say, “Friday’s here, but Sunday’s coming!” Good Friday looked bleak, but Resurrection Day changed it all.

***********************************

Shortly before they left on their spring break vacation one of the ladies in the church (my State Farm Agent) said she saw a shirt and it had my name written all over it. She gave it to me to wear and I told her I would wear it the first Sunday they were back. Today was that day and you obviously know the result of that.  It tells a great story for us and our times.  It is a lesson we must never forget.

Those are my words to all: DON’T. GIVE. UP!!

#Lent#19

Friday, March 20th, 2020

A stone or a cross.

That’s one of the ways I see this time of the year.

By stone I mean the Law.  The Law’s purpose, according to Galatians 3:24, is to be a tutor, a schoolmaster, a guardian to lead us to Jesus. It was in effect until Jesus came and then we moved from there to justification by faith. The Law was a stone around our neck. There was no freedom.  No escape.  All the Law really offered was demands and condemnation.

On the other side of the coin is the cross. Whereas the Law brought demands and condemnation, the cross brought love and freedom. The cross was far superior in every way to the Law. Instead of outside works being associated with righteousness, we are now declared righteous by the blood of Christ.

You could say a stone was used in judgment of someone when thrown; the cross was used to take away that judgment and placed on Someone else. I’ll take the cross.

#Lent#17

Wednesday, March 18th, 2020

Winter time brings the “excitement” of riding my bike on an indoor trainer. (Please note sarcasm; no joy in that statement).  Hours upon hours of riding in one place, bored out of my gourd, as they say. The only redeeming quality besides the fact that at least I’m getting some exercise, is I’m also getting to catch up on movies. This past winter I watched the Back to the Future trilogy (again); Titanic; all 5 Transformers movies (I forgot I had Bumblebee); and the director’s cuts of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Watching them all brought back a lot of nostalgia and the reason why they are my favorites.

In the LOTR trilogy, one of Gollum’s favorite expressions was to call the ring, “My Precious.” (Sort of like the meme I saw the other day with him saying that and holding a roll of toilet paper). But I digress. 🙂  The ring was evil and had so taken over his life that he was no longer Smeagol. It had changed him; ruined him. In the Hobbit,  Bilbo had found the ring and Gollum was so controlled by it he knew no peace and went to great lengths to get it back. Thus the trilogy; the need to destroy the ring; and Gollum’s demise after finally taking it from Frodo.

“My precious.” Such was my thought as I read I Peter 1:18-19

Knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.”  (emphasis mine).

It wasn’t silver or gold that drew Peter’s attention, but the precious blood of Christ. That word “precious” conveys infinite value. Just as the ring was of infinite value to Gollum, so is the blood of Christ to every follower who has been washed in it.

#Lent#16

Tuesday, March 17th, 2020

One of the highlights for me about this time of the year is the once-for-all sacrifice Jesus made on the cross. (Sorry for all of you who thought it might be the chocolate.  Hmmm. 🙂 ). It is ridiculous to think that Jesus would be crucified over and over and over and over again. You get the picture. Sort of like the blood of bulls and goats which was sacrificed year after year. When the priest raised the knife to slay the animal (bull, goat, sheep, pigeon, dove) he knew 1)  this was for him also; and 2)  he was going to be doing this again.  Every Day of Atonement the lamb slain was for his sins and the sins of the people. Notice…every. Not just one and done.

No! Not when it comes to Jesus’ sacrifice.  Hebrews 10:12 tells us, “But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, He sat down at the right hand of God.” Once. For. All. Whereas the sacrifices had to be offered over and over, year after year, this- the ultimate sacrifice- was once for all.

Praise God a sacrifice for sin has been paid. Praise God it was offered once and that was it. And praise God it was for me…and you.

#Lent#15

Monday, March 16th, 2020

First place. That is what Colossians 1:18 is speaking about. “He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything He might be preeminent.” Preeminent.

What is somewhat ironic is the false idea we have in our world of everything BUT Jesus taking first place. In verse 15 Paul uses the word image, which is the word likeness. It is also the word from which we get icon, i.e. idol.  Just think about it a moment. How often have we made something an idol?  When that happens we have allowed that thing/item to occupy the place of Jesus in our life.  Rather than belabor the point, let’s cut to the chase. Perhaps it is time to give Him:

First place in our family.

First place in our marriages.

First place in our profession.

First place in our sports.

First place in our worship.

First place in our possessions.

First place in our friendships.

First place in our viewing.

First place in our music.

You can add more but you get the point. The one I omitted speaks to all of us: First place in our lives.  Don’t you think it’s time? I certainly do.

#Lent#14

Sunday, March 15th, 2020

For your enjoyment a song I played this morning following my sermon Colossians 1:15-18.

Here is the song. A song for the sermon.  A song for today.