Sunday, April 22, 2012

Simplifying My Life

I'm trying to bring some disorder into the chaos of my life. I have blogs with Blogger and with Wordpress.  In order to simplify things, I'm moving this blog to Wordpress. You can find new posts at

Thank you for understanding.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Lazarus Is Us

Focus verses: John 11:28-44

The story of raising Lazarus from the dead is familiar to most of us. It seems the ultimate miracle, changing death into life. But this is not the only story of raising the dead in the New Testament.

There was the ruler's daughter, the son of the widow of Nain, and Peter raised Dorcas (Tabitha).

The difference here is that Lazarus had been dead for four days. This didn't happen just immediately after Lazarus died. In the heat of the Holy Land, a body would not "keep" without embalming for that many days.

As his sister said, "He stinks by now." If you have ever come upon old carrion, you know that aroma. It isn't pleasant.

But Lazarus came forth - not smelling, but still bound in the grave clothes. And Jesus tells them to take off the grave clothes and let him go. In other words, free him from the fetters of death.

How does this relate to us?

Well we were dead in our sins before Christ entered our hearts. We had been there long enough to have acquired a lot of stinking habits and patterns of thought. Those habits and thought patterns are exactly like the grave clothes that Jesus told them to remove from Lazarus.

They blind us, like a cloth over the face. They keep us from moving forward, like bound feet. They hinder us from the work of the Lord, like wrapped hands.

We can not bring the habits of death into our new life in Christ. When we surrendered to Jesus, we became new creatures. We may have the same physical characteristics we had before that encounter and commitment, but the inner person has changed radically. What was important in the world before is now a series of minor details.

Instead of living from month to month or with a five-year plan or with nebulous goals for someday, we have the purpose of God in our lives. His purpose and plan is beyond our ken. It's like a carnival ride, you commit yourself and just hang on. It's exciting, and you will see things from a totally new perspective.

Father, God,

Thank You for our resurrection from sin to salvation. Help us to keep our eyes on You at all times and to see things from the perspective of Your plans, not only for our personal lives, but for the world.
In Jesus' most precious name.

Sunday, April 8, 2012


Focus verses: I Corinthians 15:1-34

Paul taught about the resurrection of the dead. But he didn't see Jesus til he was stricken blind on the road to Damascus - after His ascension into heaven. This resurrection sets Jesus apart from every other founder of a major religion. You can see the burial places of other founders of religion. There is only an empty tomb for Jesus.

No other prophet was raised from the dead. It is His resurrection that gives us the hope of life after death as well. Paul lays it out clearly. If there is no resurrection, then Christ cannot have been raised from the dead, either. And our hope is lost entirely. If Christ has not been raised from the dead, we are still dead in our sins.

The line from Handel's Messiah Oratorio says: "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." There is a tempo change here from grave at 60 beats per minute to allegro at 84 beats. From a dirge to a lively dance.

This is what Christ does for our lives both here and hereafter. We are dead in sin. It weighs us down and crushes our spirits. But our belief in Christ and His resurrection lifts that burden and lets us dance with joy.

That promise is as much for our lives today as it is for our life after death. Can we live today in Joy?

Father, God,

Help us to understand that time has no meaning for You, that what will be already is in Your kingdom. Teach us to live the resurrected life both before and after death.
In Jesus' most precious name.

Sunday, April 1, 2012


Focus Verses: John 12:12,13

Today we celebrate Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem. People are caught up in the moment. They are anticipating the entrance of a worldly Messiah. One who will free them from the yoke of Rome. One who will bring God's rule to their kingdom.

But the moment will not last. Their expectations were not God's plan. Within the week they will be disillusioned, disheartened, some even completely turned away from the Christ.

Looking beyond the surface of an event will keep us from being surprised when all is not what it seems to be. Imagine Jesus' feelings at this moment. He's being hailed as a conqueror when he knows that the week will end with his crucifixion. Don't you suppose that the "Hosannahs" rang hollow in his ears?

Yet he allowed the adulation of the crowd. It was part of the learning curve for his disciples. They had a moment in the sun before the darkness of Holy Friday.

It was a foretaste of Resurrection Sunday. No cheering crowd there, just an empty tomb. Wonder. Questions. Elation.

Father, God,
Help us to see beyond the surface of events. Grant us the privilege of seeing through your eyes, understanding your plans. Let us always be grounded in your truth. 
In Jesus' most precious name.  Amen