Monthly Archives: June 2021

“Remember When…?”

“God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death…(Acts 2:24).”

My Father and his Father at the Mule Barn

I don’t remember reading this verse in the Book of Acts.  I know I have, it’s underlined in my Bible, but it never hit me like it did until today.  It’s the whole Bible, in just 13 words.

At 60, I’m more forgetful, waxing nostalgic more and more, especially kid memories––building forts, rock fights, baseball games every day, trees climbed to scary heights, or playing Three Wishes…get a million bucks, meet Al Kaline, and become an astronaut.  

A wish granted in 1969

But now, as an adult, if we’re honest, what we really want is to cheat death, to be able to say, “Hey, remember when…I was dead?”  Our death in the past tense (was dead).  Doubt it?  I’ll prove it with your own Yes and No, respectively, to my next two questions.

First, think you’ll die someday?  And, knowing that you will die, do you think about it much?  That’s odd.  You know you’ll die, but you avoid considering the afterlife.  Why?

Solomon said, “It’s better to go to funerals than parties because death is the end of every man and the living take it to heart (Ecclesiastes 7:2).”  Funerals force you to ponder what you won’t think about…a kind of warning light.  And Jesus, who cheated death, proving He was God in the flesh, is also something we avoid giving any serious consideration.  See a weird pattern here?  We ignore our biggest problem and Jesus, the only solution.    

For some reason, we do not want to think about our death, or consider the one person who ended death when “God raised Him up again.”  Can you explain that avoidance?  There are a lot of answers, but I’ll throw one out from my own childhood.  Fear!

Fred and I on Christmas Day

One day, I got caught stealing some pretty significant items and I hid from my Father, knowing full well he’d punish me (and rightfully so).  I hid in the basement under our pool table.  I had to return the items, and it was embarrassing, but I cannot remember him punishing me.  My fear was unfounded.  The next day I was still his son!  Nothing changed, and for 70 years he was my Dad.  He never mentioned it ever, and loved a thief.

I submit that you know you’re guilty too, fear your Heavenly Father will punish you, and so you avoid facing Him…ignorance is bliss, but if your car’s brakes are broken you can be ignorant, in bliss, and dead.  Your brake light, like a funeral, is a warning to respond.

Grinning today, my Dad accepted Christ before his death

I further submit that you’re wrong about our Heavenly Father, just as I was about my Dad.  “For God so loved the world (that’s you, guilty), that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever (you again) believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.”  Twenty-five words to say He loves you, almost twice those in Acts 2:24, which should make you think twice about responding.  Repent, believe and He’ll forgive you, and then 150 years from now you can wax nostalgic with, “Hey, remember when…I was dead?”  

Awaiting the Resurrection…Normandy, France

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

“October is Coming”

“He found nothing but leaves (Mark 11:13).”

What Titus left of the Temple in 70 AD

October is a long way off, but I love that season because our apple trees make the best applesauce.  I protect those apples all year, but once the trees are picked I ignore them, and so do the pesky animals because now they have no real value.  Mark can relate.

Mark’s record here in chapter 11 is one of the two times that Jesus destroyed something in nature (the other was the demons He cast out into a herd of pigs that ran over a cliff).  This fig tree had no fruit, “nothing but leaves,” and He cursed it.  Seems extreme, but it was symbolic of what He had found in Israel…no spiritual fruit on the tree of Israel.  

With days before His death and the New Covenant, Jesus was done with their lip service (Mark 7:6), and wanted a heart change that He did not find (Mark’s next section is the second time He threw out the moneychangers from the Temple, which Israel’s leaders had turned from a worship center into big profits).  They had drifted too far from God.

Religious hypocrites are nothing new.  Good riddance to fakers with green leaves and no real value, but it’s also a good reminder…one day Jesus will inspect your life for fruit too.  “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10).”    

Not “fruit” like being good or going to church (Isaiah 64:6, Titus 3:5), but real repentance as Jesus’ baptizing cousin said in Matthew 3:8, “bring forth fruit in keeping with repentance.”  He wants a change of heart, a surrender of your rebellious attitude of indifference to your sin and His love for you.  Jesus wants you back, but your sin separates you from God (Isaiah 59:2).  

So who cares about fruit and repentance?  Well, you should care because you are going to meet Jesus and He won’t care a fig about church or being good.  His standard is perfection, absolute holiness, and the absence of sin (Habakkuk 1:13, Matthew 5:48).  It makes sense since Heaven has no sin, but no one is that pure, so is it even possible? 

All are infected and die, the great and the average

“Nobody’s perfect, and He can’t really expect me to be holy?  If I’m honest, I’ve lied, cheated, stolen, lusted, and busted just about every commandment in thought, word, or deed.  So if He wants to have an impossible standard, I don’t care.  I’m guilty, so be it, and if I’m honest, not really very good either…if ‘good’ means holy, then I’m lost.”   

God knew our broken-helplessness, His responsibility to be just and punish lawbreakers, and so He provided Himself…a lamb.  Only God can meet His holy standard, and that’s why God became a man.  Jesus, the sinless man, was that perfect payment for us.  God loved us, reconciled us, and remained just by having His Son die in our place.  His sacrifice made us as righteous as God (2 Corinthians 5:21).  This good news is free, but you must choose it.  Fall seems a long way off, but October is coming (Hebrews 9:27).  


Filed under Uncategorized