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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Good Friday - Good God!

Our solemn observation of the greatest moment in Christian history demand we pause and look retrospectively on the emblem of suffering and shame. Our gospel should remain rich with emphasis on the cross and the blood. Without it, we run the risk of preaching a cross-less, bloodless, gospel that reduces the grace of reconciliation.

The gruesome truth is that Jesus suffered for our salvation; that suffering during this season, some two thousand years ago was with pain-staking accuracy in order that all scripture would be fulfilled. All the roads of the past come to an end on the cross. All roads to   restorative life giving hope are paved with possibility and unmerited love toward unbelievers leads to relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

Good Friday provides opportunity to reflect on forgiveness, rescue and completion of God’s plan for reconciliation. Our redemption and reunification of fellowship with the Father is the purpose of the cross. Today, we have the opportunity to forgive others who have hurt us, bury grudges and resurrect the possibility of relationship and reconciliation.

Our gathering today through intentional worship brings like-minded believers together for the soul purpose of recreating, reinventing, and resurrecting the memory of the sacrifice and thus reliving it with profound appreciation and celebration. The world will make light of the expressed demonstration of a sovereign God who loves unconditionally as though they have an inherent right to eternity with Him. We have no such right! We’ve been graced to salvation due to the fact that no work of man could ever justify the benefit of heaven.

May this resurrection season be just that for all of us who gather in His name; may we be so resurrected in forgiveness, faith, patience, doctrine, and fellowship. The cross is a bridge and a gateway. A bridge that reconnects man to God and a gateway that leads to fulfillment in life, vision, hope and aspiration…May the glory of God be resurrected in you today by the shed blood of His Son and the ultimate expression of His worship…The giving of His life that we may live forever.

GOOD FRIDAY IS BECAUSE OF A GOOD GOD!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

GOD FIRST!

In reading scripture I am often amazed at the consistency of statements in the Old Testament that pertain to firsts. There was special significance given to the "first born" male child or "first fruits" and the natural linkage between worship (feasts) and agriculture (land).  God in someways tied the blessing of the land into the offering of "firsts" given to Him.  Another observation in my OT reading is God was serious about FIRST! Israel develops as a nation and God has a chat with them about "keeping the main thing the main thing" and parenthetically speaking (He was the main thing).  So what are we to make of God literally demanding to be first in everything pertaining to His creation.  Thou shall have "no other gods" before me; thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy mind, soul, strenght (first) and honor the sabbatical laws by honoring the land and the offering with "first of the first fruits" Exodus 23:19.

This got me to thinking about my own walk with God and the walk of others I try to influence and in some cases shepherd.  God First? Me First?  I see nowhere in scripture where God has abandoned the principle of him being first in everything.  He was specific to offer him the first of the first fruits as a testament to their obedience regarding the sabbath. It would be necessary for them to trust God to produce twice the harvest in the sixth year so they would have food in the seventh year in which they were forbidden to plant.  God promised them that obedience to Him would yield them blessings. 

Today, I'm not sure that we are a nation of God first.  I am certain I have witnessed and demonstrated more of a "me first" behavior and as a result did not get a "God first" blessing.  Putting God first means that my entire life will respond to honoring him in every way in everything.  America's prosperity has set us on a course for moral destruction, emotional collapse and spiritual absence due to our materialistic, self centered cultured that will not honor God nor its fellowmen.  I realize it is easy to get off tract; no time to put anyone ahead of yourself because you're too busy "trying to make it".  When you finally arrive to the place called "make it" who is with you?  Has your family survived you placing yourself first before them? Does your community reflect a "God First" image or a "me first" reality. 

God must be First in our daily lives.  He earned it. After all, He was first in existence; first in creation, first in love, first in sacrifice, first in sharing, first in giving.  He never relinquished his claim to be "first in our lives".  We remanded him to fourth and fifth position.  He wants the first of your first fruits.  He wants the first increase of our lives which were gain supernaturally.  Without His supernatural intervention, our lives would be a do it yourself exploration.  Whatever you're doing now, stop! Honor God. Put him first in your plans, projects, programs, thoughts, dreams, desires, relationships, money and future.

A "God First" life requires thoughtfulness, obedience and faith. God First!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Government needs to SHUT UP and not SHUT DOWN!

A government shutdown is nothing more than the politricks of narrow minded representatives who solely support their views only.  I'm not sure why these jokers are playing with the lives of decent hardworking people who have just survived the "great recession".  How do you reform entitlements that benefit seniors in a way that the benefit will remain without further hurting those who bore the burden of building this country.

I must be undeniably clear that I support the rights of the unborn and believe that all life is precious.  I am so mad at the "child's play" that occurs when practical ways of living are jeopardized by foolishness.  Who's kidding who? None on them in Washington live on the streets of Buffalo, New York or in the heart of urban centers who by (their doing) must rely upon the federal government to survive, be employed or have some measure of quality of life! 

Poor people, the underemployed and unemployed are always the victims of the elitist fight in Congress. If the business of government shuts down then the employees of government (politicians) should not be paid and be given pink slips! Do they understand that it was the "people with all the money" who allowed oil to spill in the gulf for months? The people with cancer, currently in cancer trials will lose participation and treatment, no biggie; that's just affecting 25,000 people.  FDA, no problem--given a looming terrorist threat, we'll allow the opportunity to taint the American food supply.

The government in the words of one of the characters on the now syndicated HBO show the WIRE, "just need to shut up" because the more they talk; the more they look absolutely stupid, and, the electorate should feel equally as dumb for voting for representatives whose only job is to derail the current presidency to return to the idiocy of the past administration. The "New America" wants to protect the unborn but build prisons for the poor unborn to protect their livelihood. They want to undo "Obama care" but cut funding to access care or primary physicians for the poor. Their idea in this "New America" is to overload emergency rooms as primary care providers and remove funding for the poor elderly that forces closure of nursing homes.  All while they continue to fund wars abroad, remove regulations that guard us from reckless banking practices, environmentally unsafe conditions and bust up unions who protect the rights of working families. 

A government shutdown may be a good thing; provided that they shutdown the "Cadillac health coverage" of congress memembers; shutdown the loop holes given to millionaires while working people grovel to make ends meet; shutdown their access to lobbyist and to unlimited campaign contributions designed to smear a decent president whose only managed the world's crisis in the last three years.  Shutdown? How about Shut up!