Put away your “Members Only” Jacket!

We all breathe the same air; we all feel the rain fall on our faces; we all bask in the same sunshine; and we all have God as our Father.  This statement echoes Matthew 5:45, an integral verse in Jesus’ discourse on the mount. 

As we breathe that air, do we take notice?  Are we grateful to our Creator for the ability to take breath? 

Just because we do not take notice, that does not mean we are not taking pleasure in the warmth, the wind, the rain.  If we do not take notice, all of these creature comforts are still with us.

It is the same way with maturity and growth in Christ Jesus.  Like the warm, sunny breeze, Christ is there to comfort us. 

Those who do not accept Jesus as the Christ are like the individual who does not appreciate all the wonderful Gifts God provides.  This does not mean they are excluded.  This does not mean they are any less children of God.  It only means that these individuals are not realizing the benefit, the salvation that comes from acceptance of Christ Jesus as our Savior.

Jesus, born Jewish, came to lead His lost flock to the Kingdom of Heaven.  Remember how His heart went out to the Canaanite woman who begged Him to heal her daughter?  Jesus declared that He had come to earth to save the Jews alone.  But then Jesus relented and healed the woman’s daughter. 

Remember the Samaritan woman at the well?  Jesus spoke to her of Living water.  He did not withhold. 

Some of us seek status in this world.  Some of us seek status in our churches. 

Christianity is not an exclusive club.  Like a game of “peek-a-boo” we might play with our infant children to teach them that mommy and daddy are always there, God is there.  Just because an individual does not “see” God, that does not mean He is not there.  Please pray. Have faith.

W.S. 

The factual encounters aforementioned can be found in the Christian Bible, New Testament.  The story of the Canaanite woman can be found in Matthew 15.  The story of the Samaritan woman can be found in John 4.

Just one more post script.  I just want to thank my readers and welcome your questions and comments.

 

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Dance of the Seven Veils

Was the dance of the seven veils a strip-tease?  I doubt it.  Salome probably whirled the seven veils around, always revealing another veil.  After the dance she asked King Herod for John the Baptist’s head on a platter.

 Wouldn’t that be convenient?  Going through our lives, dancing the dance of Christianity, and then being presented with all that Jesus has to offer on a silver platter at the very end of our existence on earth.

 John the Baptist was put to death, so was Jesus.  The bounty on the silver platter is ours.

 There is a lesson in the dance.  Consider an onion, succulent and flavorful.  Think of the peel as the moment we recognize our need for salvation.  Inside the peel there are layers upon layers of succulent, flavorful onion.  These layers can be compared to our knowledge and maturing relationship with God through Christ Jesus.  One layer reveals another layer.  Each layer is as succulent and flavorful as the one before.  If there were an onion large enough, the succulence would go on forever.

 Don’t like onions?  Then substitute the onion for a sweet and lovely rose.  Each layer is as beautiful and fragrant as the one before.  If there were a rose large enough, we would never run out of petals.

 But the onion is finite, and so is the rose.  When we come to the last layer, we go to meet Jesus in the “sky.”   Will we recognize the sweetness of the journey?  The succulence of each layer of onion, or the fragrance of each rose petal?  We have a choice.

 We are free to mature in our Christianity, or we are free to remain stagnant, waiting for the finite layers to pass. 

 Are we waiting to be presented comfort with God on a silver platter?  How many executions will it take before mankind realizes it is all here for us now, free for the taking, each layer revealing another chapter in our Christian walk?  Have faith. 

  W.S.

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Maybe It’s a Revelation . . .

Maybe it’s a revelation.  Maybe it is an epiphany.  Maybe it is a brain puff!  But here goes.  I will say on the onset that I welcome debate on the topic I am about to write about.  If someone needs to set me straight, then go ahead.  But I am about to share something I never realized before.

This past Thursday I was preparing my weekly blog post for my other blog, www.welcomingjesus.com.  You may be aware that the blog is a collection of all the chapters of a book that I wrote about twenty years ago but never had published.

Well, I was typing about the day Jesus rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday and the cleansing of the Temple.  Well, BANGO!  I was always taught by my pastors that Jesus got all jiggy and went a little nutsy because there were entrepreneurs at tables exchanging money.  I was taught that the money exchanged from type of currency to type of currency was to be used to buy animals to sacrifice to God.  My pastors’ explanation seemed plausible enough.

But Thursday I got to thinking.  What if the uproar and outburst was because the sacrifice of animals was wrong?  What if Jesus was trying to tell us, “Enough already!  God doesn’t respond to dead animals, and He doesn’t want them to die in this manner for this reason?”

I can only imagine that the people of the time thought they were doing something pleasing to God by sacrificing the animals.  They must have thought that there was something in the practice that benefitted them.  I do not know what.  Perhaps a good growing season.  Perhaps entry into Heaven.  I do not know how the people thought they would benefit from the practice of sacrificing animals.

In my imagination, I equated this practice to our modern day drug store chains.  The money exchangers stood to benefit from the ignorance of the people of Jesus’ time.  The drug stores have half the nation by the cajoles to get all their money, too.

Enter Jesus.  There was big “dough-rae-me” in selling those sacrificial animals.  OF COURSE the people in charge wanted to stop Jesus in His tracks!  Jesus was telling John Q. Public that sacrificing animals was wrong.  (There goes the “cash cow.”  No pun intended.)

If Jesus was on earth today, healing people for free, the drug stores would want Him stopped, too.  (There goes their “cash cow.”)

This line of thinking is just a moment away from also declaring that the sacrifice of Jesus was wrong.  God made a sacrifice to humanity by sending His only Son to bear our ignorance long enough to teach us.  The XXX Drug store put an end to Him.  Then they went so far as to make Jesus the scapegoat by trying to propagate that Jesus had to die—for our own good, of course.

Strong words?  Let me hear what you think!  Have faith.

W.S.

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Through Many Dangers, Toils and Snares . . .

What would you do if the person you trusted most suddenly abducted your children to a foreign land?

During the precious years my children were growing up, there were many difficult times.  But through it all, I always thought that the only thing in life that I would not be able to overcome would be the loss of one of my children.

But this post is not about me.  It is about Scott Lesnick, a friend and author, a business comrade.  Scott wrote a compelling memoir recounting the love he has for his children, going so far as to rescue them after they have been abducted to the Middle East.  Scott persevered.  Scott fought the good fight.  Scott had faith in God.

The book is entitled “Kidjacked” and can be purchased on Scott Lesnick’s website www.scottlesnick.com.

I will use some of the language Scott uses to describe his compelling book:

Kidjacked:  A Father’s Story is the true account of how Scott Lesnick persevered, not once but twice, to get his two small children back to the United States after they were abducted to the Middle East by the person he trusted most—his wife.”

Kidjacked is a true story.  It is an honest story.  Kidjacked held my interest and at times (especially at the conclusion) was a genuine page-turner. It is an enjoyable read.

Scott writes an upbeat and inspirational book about a very serious topic.  This is not a tale, but it is written in an interesting and entertaining and thoughtful manner.  I highly recommend “Kidjacked.”

One word of caution.  Kidjacked is an honest account.  Scott uses the name of Christ in vain twice in this book.  This held me back from endorsing the book sooner.  I have had a change of heart.  God knows!  I am not perfect, either!

Have faith, Scott did!

W.S.

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Superman and Green Lantern have Nothing on our Savior!

I seem to recall that most of the major super hero motion pictures revolve around saving the world from some kind of Dooms Day. or at least saving individuals from a fate worse than death.  Grand!  We are all saved from calamity—to go back to being the brats we are.  Back to our often rude, selfish selves.

But as far as super heroes go, Jesus is different.  Jesus saves us from our rude, selfish selves, one Christian at a time.  We need only take His hand, and He will lead us to safe ground.  It is GUARANTEED!

Jesus offers a lasting salvation.  He offers a salvation that goes beyond boundaries of bodily protection.  With our hands in His, He leads us toward the light of Heaven, and the light of righteousness here on earth.  This is lasting security.  Superman, Iron Man, Batman and the Green Lantern cannot promise what we are promised by Christ Jesus.  And Jesus delivers on His promise!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9zxj4RE0O8

It’s like GROOVY, MAN!  (But forget the roach.)  Have faith.

W.S.

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Give me that Old Time Religion!

My dad’s head bobs out from behind the back of the television. He shouts, “June! I think it’s the 6J6! Upon that revelation, my dad jumps in the family automobile, and rushes to Farber’s Television and Appliance Repair. He is back home, safe and sound, with the new 6J6 tube just in time for Uncle Milty. The family sighs in relief.

The television has undergone an evolution. First we had TV’s with tubes. Then solid state television, and finally, digital TV. (Did I miss a step or two?) Television has changed. There are few things in this world that remain unwavering.

The world has seen the rock, the spear, the bow and arrow, the musket, the rifle, and finally nuclear weapons. The A-bomb fears of the 1960’s changed the world, and spawned a generation of rebellious teenagers.

The Bible has even changed. We saw the Gutenberg Bible, the King James Version, the New English Bible, the NIV and so on. Yet, the message of Jesus has not changed. It has remained constant, in a world filled with flux.

Hebrews 13:8 reminds us that Jesus is the same, yesterday, today and forever.

But, what does this mean? Why is this statement important in this day and age?

It is important because it is our assurance that Jesus provides the same salvation He provided over two thousand years ago. The benefits of this salvation include:

- Assurance of love in the family of God.
- Assurance of forgiveness for our sins.
- Assurance that God, through His Son, provides healing and comfort in all circumstances.

Even though television has changed, even though warfare has changed, even though the Bible itself has changed, mankind is still, after all these years, in need of the salvation Jesus offered us then and now.

Perhaps technology has become too big for its britches since the invention of the can-opener, but mankind still needs a perfect parent and a perfect partner to guide, reassure and comfort us.

Tomorrow is Sunday. I implore you to go to church in gladness and thankfulness, or take a few moments to read the Gospels of Jesus and reflect on how much He has stayed the same, even in the face of a changing world environment. Have faith.

W.S.

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