I get it…not everybody loves Easter as much as I do. On Twitter, I actually network with a handful of atheist friends who pay no attention to this day. But if they (or you) would ask me about Easter, these would be my three pithy comments: 1) This month, check out the book or movie, “The Case for Christ” by Lee Strobel. If you can’t afford it, I’ll get it for you. Then let’s dialogue afterward over a beverage. My treat! 2) Please don’t think all Christians are like the ones that have given you reason to not be one. I sincerely pitch that some of us work very hard to model Jesus–a servant leader who loved *all* people with dignity and respect. 3) Lastly, if you want to continue to build a case against Easter, this weekend I invite you to attend Church by the Glades as my guest or watch online at cbglades.com. If you do, enter at your own risk. It might change your mind.
About seven years ago, in my journal, I scribbled:
Humpty Heather sat on a wall
Humpty Heather had a great fall
All the kings horses, all the kings men
Couldn’t put her back together again.
But Humpty Heather is on God’s plan
And Humpty Heather along with her CuBAN
Are working hard and working together
She ain’t gonna be broken Humpty forever!
Friends, sometimes we fall. And lest we do, we mustn’t feel like it’s over! Like an egg, humans fall, crack and break–-but like God (and only God), He puts us back together again (I can testify! 🙌🏾 Anyone else?!) If you feel like Humpty–you fell, you cracked, you broke–don’t despair. Let the one who made you, repair you. That’s what “Carpenters” do. ❣️
The nighttime sky can be eerily dark, but there are stars that twinkle it with light. It is pitch black in your room, but there is still a dot of light from your mobile device. It is scary for your child to sleep at night, but not if there is a little nightlight. Oh, what we’ll do to bring light to things. Because until we do, they are dark–and unless we’re sleeping, we simply prefer light. The same can be said about our lives. What we’ll do to light up our life. But no matter how many “stars” we gather to shine onto our lives, there are still dark spaces between them: our thoughts nobody knows, our words we don’t let everyone hear, our actions when no one is looking. These spaces of darkness are inevitable, but we hope only temporal. What do we do? We need a source of light that is powerful, eclipsing, and endless. We need a never-melting candle. We need a flashlight with invincible batteries. We need a lamp that never needs a new lightbulb. We need something more powerful and more endless than our “dark” could ever be. We need God. The bible says, “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. “ (I John 1:5) If you have God in your life, though it feels dark around you, God IS light within you. When He moved in, He brought light with Him. And no body and no thing can snuff it out. Today, don’t be discouraged by your dark, be encouraged by His light.
“When the Roman officer who stood facing Him saw how He had died, he exclaimed, ‘Truly, this was the Son of God.'” Mark 15:39
In the last twelve hours of Jesus’ life, the Roman soldiers were busy. In addition to maintaining order in a chaotic Jerusalem, they: mocked, whipped, beat, made thorn-crowns, gambled, pierced, and killed Jesus. But after all was said and done, one soldier did something seemingly “out of duty.” He stood, he saw, he professed. This begs one question: am I too busy with my duties to stand still and see Him? Consider these euphuisms: “Life in the fast lane,” “Time flies,” “Where did the time go?” When it comes to us believing and trusting Jesus, is it because we can’t see Him or because we’re too busy to look? One time, one soldier took time to stand still. It was long enough to change him to consider: “I didn’t just gamble for a criminal’s clothes, I gambled for God’s,” “I didn’t execute a guilty criminal, I executed an innocent Savior,” “I offered him sour wine, He offered His blood.” It’s eerie how Psalm 46:10 echoed this: “Be still and know that I am God.” Did this soldier realize the power in standing still? Yes, because the Bible tells us that after he did, he praised the Son of God on the cross. That’s powerful. And this Roman soldier’s moment (and his eternity) wouldn’t have been possible, had he not stood still.
“the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” Psalm 121:8
My comings? Yes, your comings. Where you COME from. If you come from a painful past, GOD has watched over you. If you come from a confusing past, a rebellious past, a hurtful past, an angry past, a denied past—whatever past you come from….GOD has watched over you. His eyes have been upon you–and He has never blinked to miss any of it. Your goings? Yes, your goings. Where you ARE going and where you WILL go. If you go ill, if you go away, if you go rebellious, if you go crazy, if you go resentfully, if you go alone, if you go unspiritual, if you go sheepishly, if you go awkwardly, if you go unknowingly, if you go painfully–wherever you are going…GOD is watching over you. His eyes will always be upon you. Maybe your comings and goings aren’t good. You can still pray and say “Thank you God that you’re with me in them.” When you think nobody is looking and nobody is caring, know today, He is. And His eyes are upon you.
I got up early one Saturday morning and couldn’t believe the sunrise God gave us! Though I’m about half way through my life span, I haven’t seen forty-three years of sunrises. But I guarantee, God hasn’t missed one. The sun ALWAYS rises. Does it rise in blue skies? Not always. Sometimes the sun rises in clouds; in rain; in winter. But it always rises. And so will you. As someone who’s had to rise from bouts of depression and anxiety, I’ve clung to this promise of God’s, “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.“ We sure do get knocked down, don’t we? But if we have Christ in our lives, we have Christ in our comebacks. And here’s what that means: we will always rise. Addiction, divorce, loss, abuse, lawsuits, debt, disease, broken hearts, mental affliction…all kinds of things knock us down. But Jesus Christ isn’t only a sunset-Savior, He is a sunrise-Savior. Just look in the tomb where He was buried! It’s empty because He Rose! If you are knocked down, take heart, you will rise. I hope this encourages someone today.
Whether your a bible reader or not, almost all of us have heard of Job. He was a righteous dude. I mostly study the book of Job to focus on this human’s worst suffering (unmatched only by Jesus). Job was IN hell, ON Earth. But as I was reading, something new jumped out regarding Job’s “friends.” I put that in quotes because after you study their role in his life, you’re left wondering if they really were friends. In a good portion of the book of Job, his friends are there to offer pithy opinions and wisdom. What I particularly gleaned was the position of Job’s friends. They picked the proverbial posture of looking down on Job, in pity. But author Eugene Peterson offers an alternative posture for friends who are suffering, he said: “We need to quit feeling sorry for people who suffer and instead look up to them.” Fireworks went off in my brain. That is genius! What if, instead of looking down in pity on godly-good people who are suffering, we look UP…
1) We look UP to the sky to pray for them.
2) We look UP to them to show RESPECT that God has deemed them worthy of such suffering.
3) And we look UP to them because when Jesus was suffering on the cross, his good friends stood near and looked up to Him.
As you think of anyone you know who is suffering or struggling right now, I hope this encourages you to shift your gaze. Who knows, maybe God will use your upward gaze TO them, to HELP them get back up on their feet again!