Wednesday, April 16, 2014

PAYING A SACRIFICIAL PRICE

There is a classic story... about a little boy who built a sailboat and did too good a job of it. When it was all finished, he took his new little craft down to the lake, set it down in the water and waited for a breeze to set it in motion. He had not long to wait for it was such a beautifully designed ship that almost immediately it began to move and rapidly gather speed. Realizing that it was getting away from him, he frantically tried to catch it. However, it quickly sailed beyond his grasp and it was gone.

A few weeks later as he was walking downtown, he looked in the window of a second hand store. And yes, there it was, unmistakably his boat. He rushed into the shop and shouted at the proprietor, "That's my boat in your window!" He picked it up and started to walk out with it.

"Hey, sonny, you can't do that," said the proprietor. "I bought it from a young man who brought it in just yesterday."

"It's my boat," the little boy kept repeating. "See." And he pointed to the bottom of the boat where he had carved his initials.

"You want the boat, you have to pay." Tears gathered in the little boy's eyes and he begged the owner of the store to hold it for him until he could save enough money to buy back what he had worked so hard to build. It would take a lot of sacrifice, but he had created it and to him it was worth whatever it took to save it.

As finally he walked out of the store holding the boat close to him, he was heard saying, "You're my boat. Twice you are my boat: first when I created you and second when I bought you with my sacrifice."

…First God created us and then He paid a sacrificial price to redeem us. He did it because He loves us and could not, would not, have it any other way.

-- Rev. V. Neil Wyrick in a sermon titled "Out of Tune, Out of Sync -- What to Do?"


#3415

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

ALL HAVE SINNED

There are only two kinds of people in this world: sinners who believe themselves to be sinners and in need of a righteous savior; and the rest, sinners who believe themselves to be "not so bad" and in no need of a savior.

The Apostle Paul wrote, "For there is no distinction, since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, who God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by His blood, effective through faith." (Romans 3:22b-25a)

The sacrifice of atonement, then, is a gracious gift we must receive through faith.

-- Rev. David T. Wilkinson


#3414

Monday, April 14, 2014

FOUND AT THE CROSS

Daniel T. Niles gives us a penetrating illustration.  The Hindu temple, he says, is built in the form of a man.  The outer court is the human body.  The inner court is the mind.  The shrine is man's soul.  Man moves inside himself to find God.

The Moslem mosque is built in the form of a man.  The central dome is man's head.   The minarets are hands upraised in prayer.  Man comes to God through prayer.

The Buddhist dagoba is built in the form of a man.  The erect body, the legs crossed, the head unmoving symbolize withdrawal from the world.  Man reaches God through meditation.

The Christian Church is built in the form of a man.  The man is on the cross.  All traditional Church architecture, Romanesque, Gothic, even Byzantine, is based on a cross.  All worship centers in that cross, the place where God and man meet.  Man, therefore, approaches God through the One who died. (D.T. Niles, Upon the Earth)

To the Hindu, Moslem and Buddhist, God is removed from the human scene.  He is approached through meditation, prayer and quietness.  To the Christian, God is touched with our infirmities.  God knows the meaning of suffering.  God experiences the cross.  He is not far away.  He is there.  He is found at the cross.

-- H.S. Vigeveno in Jesus the Revolutionary


#3413

Friday, April 11, 2014

THE FACT OF CHRIST

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you know Me, you will know My Father also. From now on you do know Him and have seen Him.”  (John 14:6-7 NRSV)

All the ideas of the Christian faith are guaranteed by the fact of Christ. They have taken shoes and walked. We not only hear them -- we see them. And what we see are so good, so beautiful, so true that they become the Good, the Beautiful, and the True. His ways become the Way, His truths become the Truth, and His life becomes the Life.

-- E. Stanley Jones in A Song of Ascents: A Spiritual Autobiography


#3412

Thursday, April 10, 2014

SOMETHING DEEP INSIDE US

Something inside cannot quit hoping. Something inside keeps drawing us back to this rabbi. Something about His life, His works, His faith. Something about His belief that the universe is run by the kind of Father Jesus described and loved. Something about His power. Something about His peace draws us to Him as it has drawn people all over the world to Him for two thousand years and draws them still.

Something deep inside tells you that you are standing alone on the edge of a cliff, and the only alternative to Jesus is illusion or despair.

We can't see and know everything about hope now, but one day we will. Maybe it's like this, as written by a preacher named Bruce Thielemann:

"Imagine a colony of grubs living on the bottom of a swamp. And every once in a while, one of these grubs is inclined to climb a leaf stem to the surface. Then he disappears above the surface and never returns. All the grubs wonder why this is so and what it must be like up there, so they counsel among themselves and agree that the next one who goes up will come back and tell the others. Not long after that, one of the grubs feels the urge and climbs that leaf stem and goes out above the surface onto a lily pad. And there in the warmth of the sun, he falls asleep. While he sleeps, the carapace of the tiny creature breaks open, and out of the inside of the grub comes a magnificent dragonfly with beautiful, wide, rainbow-hued, iridescent wings. And he spreads those wings and flies, soaring out over those waters. But then he remembers the commitment he has made to those behind, yet now he knows he cannot return. They would not recognize him in the first place, and beyond that, he could not live again in such a place. But one thought of his takes away all the distress: they, too, shall climb the stem, and they, too, shall know the glory."

-- John Ortberg in Faith & Doubt


#3411