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Archive for April, 2014

From my journal…

(God speaking to me.)

 

Every person will visit Gethsemane. Most think that it’s a place where Christ went to ask for an out with regard to betrayal, torture and death. It was something deeper than even all of that. It was that He was fully human as well as God. He had the same decision to make that every human must face: he had to forgive those who offended Him and Myself. At some point someone or several people will come into your life who will betray you, mock you, torture you and kill you either in a physical or emotional way. The temptation is payback. Whereas David expressed this request over and over in the Psalms, Christ never asked for revenge in the Garden of Gethsemane. This issue of forgiveness was so decisive in the olive grove that it poured oil even over his enemies while He looked down from the cross and asked Me, “Father. Behold My enemies. But the issue has been settled. I have forgiven them. Now, would You forgive them as they really don’t have any idea of what they are now doing.” For many of the Pharisees, witnesses and Romans, it may not have had much an effect. But for Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus and others, these words cemented the deal. What Nicodemus couldn’t understand when Jesus told him that he must be born again, he could now understand through this act of Jesus which could only be understood from the viewpoint of having been born into the Kingdom of Light. And Joseph could now confess openly that he embraced the literal sacrificial body of Christ, taking him not only into his heart but his very tomb in the perfect act of replacement. Life and death and life again. Resurrection of the body and the spirit of mankind. The power of forgiveness raises you from the dead as Jesus strips off your grave clothes. Yes, the willful decision to forgive was made in the Garden of Gethsemane. It empowered My Son through Good Friday. Make the same decision He did. You may feel as if you are sweating blood. That’s how hard the decision is. And it will be followed by a Good Friday. Remember that it IS a GOOD friday. Winter fights Spring, but Spring always wins. Go ahead and willfully forgive that one person or those many people who are forcing their way into your garden and are about to take you on a road to where you will be crucified with Christ. Your preparation in the garden will allow you to look at them and say to Me, “Father, please forgive them because they know not what they do.”

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Much has been written and preached upon about the “end times.” From working with senior citizens most of my life, I can tell you that our elders are very interested in this prospect.

Why? The answer is simple. They have seen the bad get badder. How can this be when they saw Hitler?

Evil from the top has always been with us. Were Hitler, Stalin and Mao Zedong worse than Nero or any of the past or contemporary, infamous thugs?

What I believe senior citizens have picked up on is the startling difference that evil is bubbling from the ground up. I once read that some of the top complaints by teachers in the 1940’s had to do with disrespectful behavior and chewing bubble gum. I hate to pop anyone’s bubble who thinks things have not regressed.

I take “end times” very seriously. I don’t know whether they are “now” or fifty years hence. But I do recognize that there is a very serious breakdown in the mores of our culture. Although I’ve been on many mission trips, I cannot with authority suggest that every culture’s senior citizens would agree with ours. But I do know our culture and I agree with the seniors that things are deteriorating.

To understand what has happened to America, we must look at what has happened in America. These same seniors would tell you that there is a lack of respect for elders, for the very basics of the Judeo-Christian values (Ten Commandments) and especially for life itself. Some would snicker. I do not. These are extremely serious offenses.

Author John Eldredge says that a very clear evidence of the end times is that millions of girls (and boys) are being trafficked. I was thinking more along the lines of nuclear threats, terrorism and dictators. But when I thought about it, how much worse can it get?

Every generation is responsible for their share of sin and no individual can claim innocence.

I have had to repent about the prospect of Jesus coming back. I was like a kid at bedtime who wanted to stay up just a little longer.

Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.” Psalm 73:25

As I confronted any worldly desire within me that might compete with the beauty of God, I came to the speedy conclusion that the Second Coming of Jesus Christ or my death puts talk of the end times in the appropriate perspective.

The signs of God’s goodness are easier to recognize than the clues of the end times. One of the clearest indicators of God’s love is nature. Viewing the pre-dawn sky and the ensuing sunrise, I was enticed into asking Him, “Is it soon, Lord? Is it soon?”

player.vimeo.com/video/90895279

I Just Want To Be With You 

When I look out into the skies

My heart yearns and my soul cries

For Your return, to see with my own eyes

When I look into Your word

I can’t believe what I have heard

To read that You can love that much

CHORUS:

I just want to be with You

to see more and more of You

Go where You want me to

I just want to walk with You

Like in the garden we used to

I just want to be with You today

And always and always

 

When I look into the faces

You wrote the book on all grace

I see redemption taking place

When I view struggling and pain

Only You could ascertain

That the sun will follow the rain

BRIDGE:

I am eager like a bride

Desirous of her lover’s eyes

worth the wait, but the longing’s so great

“I Just Want To Be With You”: © 2014, No Reputation Communications, LLC. Words and Music by Robert J. LaCosta

 

 

 

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Nailed to a telephone pole was a cardboard sign that read,”Thanks For Stealing My Cow.” My eyes were riveted. I didn’t drive off the road, but I did think some marketing guy could make a fortune if only he could figure out what to put next and slap it on one of those giant interstate billboards.

That’s when I decided that I’d take a shot at it; the story behind it, not the poor cow.

Whether you are driving down the road, walking around your house or looking out the window of an airplane, you’ve probably figured out that life has a way of juxtaposing good with evil or vice versa. I was pondering this very thing this morning when I just happened to flip to this appropriate scripture: “So I tried to understand why the wicked prosper. But what a difficult task it is!” Psalm 73:16

Between the lines here is the obvious conclusion that there will always be those bad cow stealers who get away and leave no evidence behind except the sour grapes of those who write on cardboard signs. The other obvious observation is that I happened upon that sign while driving on a gorgeous Spring day, the first break in the weather in months. Good and bad walking in hand in hand like Maxim and Rebecca. 

This paradigm was to be tested in my life that very day and I freely admit that I teetered on the edge of “half-empty.”

Boiled down, life is like boxing match between Good and Evil. It’s as if we’re in the audience and there’s something so entrancing about the wicked prizefighter that we are sorely tempted to watch his cunning maneuvers and, worse yet, to secretly, or even worse yet, openly, root for that villain. There are a myriad of reasons for this dynamic. We may have been burned by people so often that we really have given up on the idea that the guy with the busted lip is really “Good.” Or, we may have simply slipped into the dark side and don’t like “Good” anymore. 

It’s one thing for those in the ring to get knocked down, but we who observe this paradigm must never get wobbly legs. If nothing else, yell as loud as you can for Good. Boo for Bad. If you get real nervy, run some ice over to Good’s corner.

Nailed to a couple of poles a long time ago was a sign over a Jewish man that was said to be the Son of God. There were only a few in His corner. But the beautiful words of one who knew who to root for are etched in eternity. “Now when the centurion saw what had happened, he began praising God, saying, “Certainly this man was innocent.” Luke 23:47

BELOW: ON ANY GIVEN DAY, WE WILL FACE THE CHOICE OF THESE TWO SIGNS, WHICH COINCIDENTALLY, WERE RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET FROM EACH OTHER. NOTE THE BLUE SKIES.

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