Who has been like Jesus to you?

tomb.jpg I received this request from a friend who is a former blogger and thought that it would be good to open up to everyone here.  If you have a story you’d like to share, please leave it in the comments section.  She will accumulate to share with others.  These would be great to post on your own blogs as well, or to share with people you know.

What I need is true stories of people who have been like Jesus to you!

Has God used anyone in your life to show you his character – his love, his forgiveness, his chastisement? Who has given you hope? Welcomed you with open arms? Shown you kindness when you felt you did not deserve it? Who corrected you when you needed it? Supported you? Been a great example of a humble servant?

God often uses other Christians (or even non-Christians at times) to show us what he wants from us or just to bless us.

Who has inspired you to be a better person? Share your stories with me!

I will compile all the stories in a book. It would be a great present for those in your life who do not yet know Christ. Let’s give God all the credit and the glory!

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John 20

j20.jpgGreetings! This is the central point in human history.  If Jesus stayed dead, we would be without hope.  Christianity would be false, and we should be “pitied above all men,” as Paul says. 

But the tomb was empty! Hallelujah for that!  Jesus really rose from the dead physically. 

The Empty Tomb

20     Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”

3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. 8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 9 (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)

Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene

10 Then the disciples went back to their homes, 11 but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”

“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

15 “Woman,” he said, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher).

17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.

Jesus Appears to His Disciples

19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

It is hard to imagine the reactions of the Disciples.  Holy Saturday must have the longest day ever for them.  Their friend and leader was brutally executed.  All of them had given up years of their lives and assumed He would win in the end.  He did, of course, but not the way they planned.

Jesus Appears to Thomas

24 Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.”

26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

30 Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

I submit that Thomas got a bad rap in forever being know as “Doubting Thomas.”  Did Jesus chastise Thomas for doubting?  No.  And remember that Jesus was not shy about rebuking the Disciples when they got things wrong.  Thomas asked for evidence and he got it. 

Doubts are OK, provided you don’t use them as an excuse not to believe.  Use them to keep honestly searching for the truth and Jesus promised you will find it. 

Now Jesus will probably not appear to you directly, but He didn’t expect you to believe just because someone said to.  There is plenty of evidence for the life, death and resurrection of Jesus and for the accuracy and integrity of the Bible.  All of the examples of sharing the Gospel in the Bible involve using fact, reason and evidence.  So let’s give Thomas a break.

Visualizing the stimulus

Go here for a visual on just how ridiculously large this alleged stimulus package is compared to things like the Louisana Purchase, the New Deal, the Iraq War and more. 

I’ll probably be saying this a lot for a few years, but this is just uninhibited-drunk-running-through-the streets-naked-liberalism. 

Only 14% of the expenditures could even pretend to be true stimulus spending, and that assumes there won’t be rampant fraud and inefficiencies as it is doled out.

Maybe Nancy Pelosi can work some abortion incentives in there to save even more money. 

Less than two weeks in office and we’ve got this already?  What a disaster.

A great day for life!

why-pro-lifeLast Sunday was a great day for life at our church.  Our pastor gave great sermons with a pro-life theme (with his usual excellent balance of grace and truth), and we gave away over 100 copies of Randy Alcorn’s book Why Pro-Life?  Randy generously provides these to churches and crisis pregnancy centers for $1.60.  A picture of the book was on the screen for over 5 minutes so you couldn’t miss the theme.

I pray that many people will read the book carefully and share the ideas with others.  I was very encouraged that the youth seemed so interested. 

Speaking of life, if you haven’t seen this video spend 46 seconds on it.  I hope Obama sees it.  Good thing for him that his mother wasn’t pro-abortion like he is.  Hat tip: Christine, and about a dozen other bloggers.

Of course, even if not all of the 50,000,000 lives destroyed in the womb would have been famous like Obama their deaths were still tragic. 

John 19

j19.jpgGreetings!

Jesus Sentenced to be Crucified

19     Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. 2 The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe 3 and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they struck him in the face.

Flogging was a serious punishment.  If you saw the Passion of the Christ movie you might have wondered if that was what it was really like.  We don’t know exactly.  In some ways, them movie may have been a bit over the top with the sadistic nature of the Roman soldiers and the hooks on the whips.  But in other ways it was understated.  Those being punished sometimes died.  They might have huge chunks of flesh removed such that you could see organs.  It was very grisly.

Yet here was God in human form willingly taking this abuse on our behalf! 

4 Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him.” 5 When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!”

6 As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!”

The Crucifixion

But Pilate answered, “You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him.”

7 The Jews insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.”

Even PIlate saw Jesus’ innocence.  Jesus did claim to be the Son of God and He proved it by his resurrection.

8 When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, 9 and he went back inside the palace. “Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10 “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?”

11 Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”

12 From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jews kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.”

Pilate was in a very awkward position.  Rome did not like governors who couldn’t control their territories, but they also didn’t like unnecessary violence.  If you want to know more about Pontius Pilate I encourage you to read Pontius Pilate, a Novel by Paul L. Maier.  It is a very engaging work of historical fiction. 

13 When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge’s seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha). 14 It was the day of Preparation of Passover Week, about the sixth hour.

“Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews.

15 But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!”

“Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked.

“We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered.

16 Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.

The chief priests claim to have no king but Caesar showed just how far their hearts were from God.  They hated Caesar, but apparently hated Jesus more and would say anything to be rid of him.

The Crucifixion

So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. 17 Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). 18 Here they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle.

19 Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. 20 Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. 21 The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.”

22 Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”

23 When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.

24 “Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.”

This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled which said,

“They divided my garments among them

and cast lots for my clothing.”

So this is what the soldiers did.

That is one of the many prophecies that Jesus could not have fulfilled on his own.

25 Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” 27 and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

As the oldest son Jesus wanted to ensure his mother was taken care of. 

The Death of Jesus

28 Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. 30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

“It is finished” is another way of saying, “the debt is paid in full.”  I love that phrase.  Jesus work was done.  He came and died for our sins so that we could be forgiven and reconciled to God.” 

31 Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jews did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. 32 The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. 33 But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. 35 The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. 36 These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,” 37 and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.”

The Burial of Jesus

38 Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jews. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. 39 He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. 40 Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. 41 At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. 42 Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

These two men were very brave to do this.  They didn’t know Jesus would rise from the dead on the third day.

Christians. The original diversity group.

Christians.  The original diversity group.

 

There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

 

Galatians 3:28

When we had a Christian employee network group at Compaq that was one of our tag lines (that was before HP came along and decided our organization was too controversial). Not sure what reminded me of that, but I still like the sentiment.

Christianity is the ultimate in diversity. Any age, race, gender, etc. can repent and believe and be saved. It doesn’t matter who your parents were. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done. It doesn’t matter who you know (uh, except Jesus). It doesn’t matter how much money you have.  It doesn’t matter how smart you are.  It doesn’t matter what social rung or caste you are in. 

Just repent and believe.

Roundup

More anti-choice behavior from the Left: Planned Parenthood: “pro-choice” for abortion, “no choice” for doctors

Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union are suing the government over rules that protect health care providers’ freedom of conscience.

The Department of Health and Human Services put the regulations in place last month to reinforce federal laws that protect doctors from being forced to participate in abortion and other anti-life practices.

The top 10 misheard lyrics — good for a laugh.  My favorite was mentioned in the opening but wasn’t on the official list: Jimi Hendrix song Purple Haze has the line, ‘Scuse me while I kiss the sky, but a high school friend thought it was, ‘Scuse  me while I kiss this guy.  It was like, “Uh, that is so far off I don’t know where to begin.”

The New York Times ignored a 300,000 person pro-life marchThree hundred thousand.  But they aren’t biased.

Obama wants to see the Defense Of Marriage Act overturned, which is helping keep normal states from being impacted as much by the insanity in Massachussetts et al.  Go here to send your Representatives and Senators emails telling them you support it.  Go now!  It only takes a couple minutes.