No Greater Truth

Jesus’ resurrection is something that I celebrate today, tomorrow, and every day that I breath. The reality of his life, death, and resurrection is the very foundation of everything that I believe. There is nothing more important, nor any truth of greater value than the resurrection of Christ. All hope, freedom, joy, and fulfillment is found in him alone. His life brings life.

He is not here, for he has risen. – Matthew 28:6

 

Proven True

The other night my family sat down to spend some time in Scripture and pray. It was my brother Eddie’s turn to lead our time together, and he took us to Daniel chapter 2.

We all know the drill—the King of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, has a bad dream, his counselors cannot interpret it, so he calls in the prophet Daniel who is gives the interpretation of the dream by God’s revelation.

Instead of reading Daniel chapter 2, Eddie summarized it and then pointed out that almost the exact same thing happens in Daniel Chapter 4. King Nebuchadnezzar has a dream, calls in his counselors and wise men to tell him what it means (they can’t…again) so he asks for Daniel who then interprets the dream for the King.

What Eddie wisely observed in these chapters is not how Daniel handled the situations, but rather how King Nebuchadnezzar didn’t. 

In both circumstances Nebuchadnezzar chose to go to his counselors and “wise” men to tell him the meaning of his dream. He sought answers from those who were incapable of providing him with truth. He went to the world, and the world failed him. Twice. Then Nebuchadnezzar went to Daniel, a prophet of God, who was capable of providing truth. And Daniel had the answers…twice. 

Nebuchadnezzar did not learn his lesson, and neither did his son Belshazzar who does the exact same thing in Daniel chapter 5. The reality is that those of us who are Believers—who know the Gospel of Jesus and have seen and heard the testimony of His ministry—haven’t truly learned our lesson either. As my brother asked on Tuesday evening, “How often do we go to the world for answers to our life questions rather than going straight to God’s Word?”

The world, just as Nebuchadnezzar’s counselors were, is completely incapable of giving us the answers we need in order to live life well. Yet even as those who testify to the living, breathing Truth of Jesus Christ are often tempted to find answers outside of Him.

Our lives are dedicated to Jesus, so our life-questions must be directed to Him and Him alone.

“Every word of God proves true;he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.” ~ Prov. 30:5

Joy in Pain

Pain doesn’t take a break during the holidays. In fact, for a lot of people, the holidays are some of the most painful and difficult times of the year. It doesn’t seem right that in the midst of Christmas, a time when we celebrate the original coming of our Savior, people are hurting. The circumstances and the celebration don’t seem to match up, or do they?

During Christmas time we focus a lot on the joyous and awe-inducing parts of Jesus’ birth—the pregnant virgin, the star with a mind of its own, singing angels, believing shepherds, and the traveling wise men. In every Christmas carol there are lines about the peace and joy that Christ’s birth brought to Earth.

But we also need to take the time to think about what that manger/stable scene was really like—smelly, dirty, uncomfortable, and cold. Not to mention the fact that the only midwife/doctor available was a young, newly married carpenter. Mary, Joseph, and Jesus’ situation was hardly ideal. It involved a lot of stress, pain and discomfort.

Maybe I am just strange or a tad morbid, but Jesus’ rough start in life is actually a source of comfort and relief to me. Life, even in the midst of the joy and wonder at the Savior’s birth, wasn’t easy. Jesus identifies with us in our weakness. He walked through pain and experienced hardship. He knows and understands our circumstances.

The birth of Jesus Christ—the life that He brought into this world—gives us cause to have joy in the midst of our pain.

“Allow the truth of God’s Word to meet you in your sorrow. Remind yourself of the joy found in an absolute perfect and everlasting life in Christ.”  – Pastor Brad Greiner

 

Opinion

o·pin·ion – A view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.

Everyone has an opinion on everything, even if the opinion is that they do not have an opinion. That means trillions of opinions are being made in each individual’s mind every day. Today alone I have made judgments (on my computer, my coffee, my family, God, the world, my friends, a text, an e-mail, my lunch, a song, why Captain America is the best (oops, sorry, that was a fact!)….and the list goes on. You, right now, are making a judgment on my thoughts and on my writing—good, bad, ugly, superb, meh. It is constant.

Does anyone else find that crazy? To me, the fact that we all have opinion proves that we were not created to be copies of each other. We were all born to be different; to like different kinds of food, to watch different kinds of movies, read other books, like “weird” music and dig random styles of clothing. There is something special about that. We are all individuals with our own thoughts and ideas. Yes, there are areas where truth is truth no matter what anyone thinks (a.k. The WORD), but there is much in this world that is open to discussion. 🙂

I did not really know where I was going with this when I started, which was probably not a good idea, but there it is!!

Thoughts?

Don’t Stifle

I sat outside of In-N-Out with a small group of friends, just hanging out after basketball games earlier that night. It was late (by most standards) and we were all pretty tired, so the silliness was on high. Of the four tables available our group took over three, while at the other table a lone girl sat hunched over with her hands shoved into her pockets, a hoodie covered her head and I could barely see the girl’s eyes from behind her hair, but I could see enough to know that she was not okay. She just sat there staring at her phone lying on the table. I saw a depressed and lonely girl needing someone to love her.

I looked at her and felt that I needed to say something. My mind asked, PAlease Emily, what are you going to do? Walk up to her awkwardly and say, “hey, are you okay?” What’s she gonna do? Tell you her life story?! Right. Of course. Stupid thought.

lonely-girlBut the Spirit wouldn’t let me ignore his promptings so easily. I decided that I could not let this go. I went inside to refill my cup (and get up the courage to go say something to her), when I came back outside I just asked, “hey, are you okay? You look kinda down.”

“Oh, yea, I’m fine.”

“You sure? Do you need anything? Prayer?”

*Small smile* “Thanks for asking, but I’m okay.”

What else did I expect her to say? I would not tell some random girl at In-N-Out about my pain. I didn’t want to push the issue so I just smiled sympathetically and sat back down next to my friend. I still had little ache inside my heart. I turned around a few minutes later to see if the girl was still there—she was gone.

I cannot shake the feeling that I should have done something more. I just pray that by simply asking her if she was okay meant something to her. I pray that God brings someone in to her life who will speak truth to her, tell her of the love that He has for her and tell her that she does not have to be alone.

Paul encourages us in 1 Thess. 5:19, “Do not stifle the Holy Spirit.Obey His promptings. He lives in us that we might change lives—bringing others closer to Him.