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Showing posts with label forgiveness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label forgiveness. Show all posts

Monday, April 2, 2018

Being Remembered

   I have seen a trend that is occurring more and more often.   That trend is putting "memorials" on the backside of your vehicle to commemorate the death of a loved one.   The most common one is the decorating of the back windshield with white-lettering and pictures of doves, hearts, angels etc and including the birth and death dates of the person.   This, in affect, turns the vehicle into a mobile-grave-marker.   I can understand why someone would do that.   I know that people don't visit cemeteries and therefore grave-markers go unnoticed by most of us.  It's hard to accept that many people die without being "remembered" by most of us.   We want their lives to have meaning and consequence.   We yearn for their lives to have an impact on this earth.


   Jesus was asked by one of the thieves on the cross next to him,
"Lord! Remember me when you enter your kingdom!"
   That's all.... just "remember me".   And to his astonishment Jesus goes far beyond his request to be remembered.   He promises the man complete forgiveness of his sins and that he will enter God's kingdom that very day when he replies,
“Truly I tell youtoday you will be with me in paradise.”   --Luke 23:43
   The man who had no hope at all when he was lifted on his cross next to Jesus now had the best hope anyone could ever have.  I think the Pharisees down below must have been scratching their heads as they heard Jesus during his agony on the cross minister to this lost soul.  Maybe they would recall Jesus own words earlier when he said to those who made exception to Jesus eating and drinking with "sinners",
"I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to   repentance.”  --Luke 5:32
   How much does this thief know of Jesus?   Answer: hardly anything at all.  Most of what he has learned came from the mockers down below.  They yelled "insults" at him.   Taunted him with his "claims" and probably quoted some of Jesus own teachings back at him.   That's all it takes for the Holy Spirit to work.   Even when the world mocks Jesus it inadvertently professes about him and performs an unintended spreading of the gospel.  Yet despite the small amount of what he has learned in the few hours he has been placed next to Jesus he has come to accept him as "Lord".  Simply amazing!

    When Jesus sent out his disciples and they came back bragging about what they saw happen.  They bragged to each other about how they saw the sick being healed and demons being pushed out of people.   Jesus admonishes them and says,
However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.  -- Luke 10:20
    We, also, get caught up in our own earthly "demon kicking" and need Jesus to remind us what really matters in the end.  He reminds us that being "remembered in heaven" is so much more valuable than being remembered here on earth.  I had a conversation with a co-worker on how it's so silly some of the verbal fights we see going on at our company over which vendor we should use for our work.   I said to him, "There's not going to be a bronze statue of me standing outside our building in Folsom with me standing next to an emulator and pointing out into the distance!  When I leave I will be forgotten along with all I have worked on too!". 

     As we make our way through this world we daily need Jesus gentle reminder of what is really important: "He will not forget us when we die but will take us to heaven to be with him forever"

 



Friday, April 14, 2017

WHY

   The word "why" seems to be one of the first words children seem to learn, right after "momma", "dadda" and "no".    This word can drive a parent to near insanity on long car rides.

Why is the sky blue?
Why is the grass green?
Why can't I drive the car?
Why do we need to go on vacation?
Why can't we stop for ice cream?

The questions seem unending to a young parent.  This line of questioning would put a CIA operative to shame who must resort to water-boarding to inflict higher levels of pain and mental distress.

Some questions of "why" we can answer, but the child is too young to even understand our answer if we gave it to them.   We know that such answers would only be open to 10 more "why" questions that we don't have the time or energy to answer.  To this, we often resort to our simple answer:  "Because it just IS!",  This answer will hold a 5 year old for about 10 seconds before they bellow out a loud "WHY?" from the back seat of the car.

On Good Friday, while Jesus is hanging on the cross he screams out a question for God the Father to answer:
"My God! My God!  Why have you forsaken me?"
Christ, suspended on a cross between two worlds: earth and heaven.  Rejected by the earth and forsaken by the Father.

Why?

Why is often the hardest question to answer in stories like this.  Journalists can give you the Who, What, Where and How, but often they struggle to come up with the WHY.    When a crazed husband shoots his wife at her school and 2 other children we are left empty when we search for the reason of WHY.  Or when a soldier sees his friend take on heavy fire from the enemy and dies so he can crawl to safety we are left empty as we search for the answer to WHY.

The answer to Jesus' question comes to us earlier in the book of John
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whosoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life"
The answer is because he loves us.

All to often we get too caught up in answering the other questions that we overlook (or maybe we just don't want to face it) the most important of questions.  Knowing HOW Jesus died, WHERE Jesus died, WHEN Jesus died won't bring you any closer to God.  Today we are blessed with great cinematography and actors who can portray Christ's suffering in great detail and almost make you feel like you are standing right there under the cross.  But that won't save anyone.  Only when they come to face the question of WHY... are lives changed.   When we see that it was for US that Christ died.  He acted as the mother stepping in front of her child to shield them from the oncoming bullet to protect them.

I have often found it amazing that the one thing you can say to a child that you will never get a WHY question for is this:   I LOVE YOU!

Children just get it.  They accept it.   They know they are not perfect, but they accept the love of their parent as irrefutable and will often immediately respond with "I LOVE YOU DADDY!"

God loves you too and all he asks us to do is to accept it and not ask WHY.