Easter is not about brightly colored eggs, wearing pastels, or enjoying a big meal, although it could include these. Easter is about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.1 comments
When I was a kid, I had all kinds of ribbons on my walls for races I had run, but not one of them was blue. Not one of them had the words "first place." They were all purple. Purple represented "honorable mention." An honorable mention is not first, second, third, or fourth place. It means "also ran." In other words, "We don't want him to feel bad, so we'll give him a purple ribbon."
When the apostle Paul proclaimed the gospel to the men of Athens, he used a word that we rarely hear today: repent. He said, "Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead" (Acts 17:30–31, emphasis added).1 comments
Every thinking person gets around to asking the questions "Where did I come from?", "Why am I here?", and "Where am I going?" Science attempts to answer the first question, philosophy seeks to answer the second one, and Jesus has the answer to all three.3 comments
Our world today is full of religious people, but they don't use that word to describe themselves. They use a different word: spiritual. They will describe themselves as very spiritual and then will add, "But I'm not into organized religion."
Where will you turn in a time of crisis? When tragedy hits? When disaster strikes? Will it be your favorite magazine? The morning newspaper? The evening news? You will need something to give you strength and direction in your time of need—and you cannot find a better resource than the Word of God.
Far too often it seems that Christians don't want to have any contact with unbelievers. Maybe they don't want to talk to them for fear of being polluted spiritually. But the church needs to infiltrate, not isolate. And to reach our culture, Christians must go where people are.
To be able to reach our culture, to be able to reach our unbelieving friends and family, to be able to reach someone who doesn't believe in Jesus, we must first have a genuine concern for them.
Just about everything I can think of in this world of ours has its limits: wealth, time, wisdom, opportunities, even physical life itself. Paul wrote: "For this world in its present form is passing away" (1 Corinthians 7:31). And John declared, "this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave" (1 John 2:17).
Whatever we might acquire in life, the novelty of it will diminish over time. Take a new car, for example. Don't you love the new-car smell? You look for excuses to drive it. You vow to never eat in your car. And then a month goes by and you're late for work. You have to eat, and sure enough, you have your first spill inside your car. Some time passes, and you get that first little dent in the door. Then the paint chips a little. And after a while, that new car is not so exciting.
God is wiser than I am, and what is immediately good actually may not be eternally good. And what is eternally good isn't always immediately good, but painful.
The word disciple means "learner." A disciple is a pupil, one who comes to be taught. But a disciple is not a passively interested listener. The idea of a disciple is that of someone who listens to one who possesses full knowledge, drinking in every word and marking every inflection of the voice, with an intense desire to apply what has been taught. A disciple really wants to learn.
The great preacher John Wesley was riding along on his horse one day when he realized that three days had passed, and he had not been persecuted in any way. Not a single brick had been thrown in his direction. He had not been hit by an egg. So he actually stopped his horse and said out loud, "Could it be that I am backslidden or I have sinned?" Slipping down from his horse, he knelt on one knee and asked the Lord to show him if there was anything wrong with him spiritually.
If your faith cannot make it through adversity, then, with all respect, I would have to say that it isn't real faith. The faith that cannot be tested is the faith that cannot be trusted. Real faith gets stronger through hardship, not weaker. It becomes more resilient; it doesn't fall apart.