Tagged christianity

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“What is This?” | Everyday Manna from Heaven

The Old Testament is all about God preparing His people for the Messiah. It’s a people longing for people and the story of a God of salvation and deliverance. This is so clear as God, through 10 plagues, delivers His people from slavery in Egypt and takes them on a journey, through the desert, to the Promised Land. Along the way, God teaches His people to trust Him.

Now, sustaining a million-plus people in a desert for 40 years is not a small undertaking. But, God. God supplies their every need. He gives them “manna” (this bread-like substance from heaven for their food and nourishment), quail and even water from a rock. Manna literally means “what is this?” for when the manna showed up, the people were surprised and had no idea what it was. Yet, God sustained His people with manna, and He grew their faith in Him.

Exodus is the most powerful book on salvation in the Old Testament.

Now, fast forward to the New Testament.

Mark begins his gospel not with the birth narrative, but he immediately moves to Jesus’s earthly ministry. In Mark 1, Jesus is teaching at the synagogue in Capernaum. It says, “The people were amazed at His teaching, because He taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.” (Mark 1:22) During His teaching time, Jesus heals a man from an evil spirit. Then it says, “The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, ‘What is this?’ A new teaching – and one with authority!” (Mark 1:27)

“The Torah” – the first five books of the Old Testament – does not simply mean “The Law,” but is better understood as “The Teaching.” Jesus came and taught in a different way than the “teachers of the law.” Jesus was concerned about the people – physically and spiritually. He came not only to bring deeper insights into the Law, but to bring life to the people through the Teaching. Salvation. Life-sustaining and transforming salvation.

The contrast was so evident that the people realized this was different. “What is this?” – this is what they longed for. This was what the entire Old Testament journey was preparing them for. This is life that was truly life. Not religion (the Law) but a relationship (the Teaching and the Teacher). The One who came to fulfill the law and to bring life – physical and spiritual.

Our story mirrors the journey of the Israelites.

We all stand in need of salvation. We long for physical sustenance and spiritual life. Jesus told the people in John 6:34, “I am the bread of life. he who comes to Me will never go hungry, and he who believes in Me will never be thirsty.” Jesus meets our deepest needs. When we were slaves to sin, Jesus brought deliverance. He sustains physically in the wilderness while He leads us to the Promised Land. He is the “author and perfecter of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:2)

Are we still amazed at His goodness in our lives? Do we thank God every day for the bread He gives us to eat that sustains us physically? Jesus even teaches us in the model prayer to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Everything we have comes from Him – daily He meets our physical needs. And, are we still amazed at His Teaching? Are we hungry for God’s Word and are we growing spiritually? Jesus came to teach not simply for knowledge, but that we might have life. His teaching is meant to draw us to the heart of a God who provides healing and salvation for us. How amazing that the Israelites waited for the Messiah and Jesus is born in Bethlehem. The name Bethlehem literally means, “House of Bread.” Jesus meets our deepest physical and spiritual needs. He truly is “the bread of life.”

Never lose the wonder of what God is doing in you. Just as the Israelites were surprised and overjoyed for the manna, and the people of Capernaum were amazed and overwhelmed by His Teaching. So, let’s be a people who never lose the sense of awe that comes when we realize that the God of all Creation sent His Son into the world to save us. Stay hungry for His teaching and see your life sustained, but also transformed.

Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no help at all.-2

He is Risen!

Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no help at all.-2

It’s Easter Sunday Morning! Praise God!

“‘Don’t be alarmed,’ he said, ‘You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him. But go, tell His disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see Him, just as He told you.'” Mark 16:6-7

Jesus is alive! He conquered death. The one thing which has kept our world in fear, and Jesus beat it. The grave could not hold Him down. And, because of this, we can come alive – truly alive – this Easter. Because of Christ, death no longer has the final say. Our God is greater! And, He loves us!

May you have a wonderful Easter celebrating the goodness and grace of our God. And, may Easter come alive in you. He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!

From my family to yours….Happy Easter!

HappyMother's Day

The Seven Sayings of Jesus on the Cross

The Cross. One of the most brutal, almost unthinkable ways to die, and yet the Cross of Christ is the most beautiful act of love our world has ever seen. Jesus, the perfect lamb of God who came to take away our sins, endures the sufferings of the cross in order that we might have eternal life with God. As Jesus hung on the cross, His seven sayings give us insight into His heart and mission.

In compiling all of the Gospels together, here are the seven sayings of Christ on the Cross (in the order in which they were said):

  1. “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” Luke 23:34
    • Forgiveness – As Jesus forgave them, may we forgive those who have wronged us.
  2. “Truly, I say to you today, you will be with Me in paradise.” Luke 23:43
    • Salvation – Jesus redeeming and restoring even on the cross. May we see the needs of those around us and share the Gospel with others.
  3. “Woman, behold your son. Son, behold your mother.” John 19:26-27
    • Relationships – Even on the cross, Jesus was looking out for His mother. The importance of taking care of those around us.
  4. “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?” Matthew 27:46
    • Abandonment – Jesus taking on the sins of the world. Holy God cannot be in the presence of sin, thus the pain of being separated from the Father.
  5. “I thirst.” John 19:28
    • Distress – The humanity of Christ meets the divinity of Christ at the cross, and ultimately at the Resurrection. Jesus can identify with our hurt and pain. And, yet, He has the power to overcome it.
  6. “It is finished.” John 19:29-30
    • Reunion – The price of sin is death. Jesus paid the price, thereby making a way for you and me to have eternal life with God.
  7. “Father, into Your hands I commit My Spirit.” Luke 23:46
    • Triumph – Jesus is the only person who has been born with the mission to die. Jesus came to take away the sins of the world, and He did it. Now, the Gift of His grace is available to all who believe and will follow.

Ponder the power of these seven words:

  1. Forgiveness
  2. Salvation
  3. Relationship
  4. Abandonment
  5. Distress
  6. Reunion
  7. Triumph

Jesus reveals His heart and His mission through His sayings on the cross. He paid the price, so that we can have eternal life with God. May we never grow numb to the power of the Gospel. We are often tempted to skip over the time at the cross and go straight to the empty tomb. But, the cross is what makes the empty tomb possible. As 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” Through the price Jesus paid, we become the redeemed.

May we never lose the weight and the grace of the cross. May we hear the voice of Jesus – receive His forgiveness and thus share in His triumph. May we see how He suffered, and may we understand how He has called us to live. Thank You, Jesus, for the Cross!

HappyMother's Day