My Introduction

Holy BibleHello to everyone,

I would like to take this time to tell you a little about myself and the major focus of what I will be writing. First of all I will be building on what Kelly Madison has written and will be revisiting some of her writings when it is appropriate. I will continue, as Kelly did, in basing my writing on quotes from the Bible. If you are going to write about the Bible, it should be your primary source of information.

Also, I am a firm believer in Christian education. We hear again and again that if you want a good job, you need to get the best education that you can get. This holds true for religion also. I have an acquaintance who is an atheist and he knows more about the Bible than most Christians I know. Unfortunately, he uses his knowledge against the Bible and always makes the Christians he is talking to angry, because they don’t know what he is talking about and, as a result, can’t hold their ground. He ends up appearing to win and the other person is left angry and confused. The only way to stop this is for Christians to learn what the Bible is telling them. This is why you will frequently hear me say that you must study and read. Learn all that you can about religion. There are many good books and Bible studies out there and don’t be afraid to question and even challenge your pastor, if you don’t understand or disagree with what he/she says. I am going to close with 2 Bible passages that tell what God thinks about acquiring knowledge.

Proverbs 8:10-11 – Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is more precious than rubies.

Hosea 4:6 – My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.

Good-bye for Now

The time has come for me to step down from my position at “Look and Find Jesus.” I will still be doing support work and writing occasionally for this blog, but I am no longer able to provide the time that is needed for this position.

Charles Christopher MartinMy replacement is Charles Christopher Martin, who some of you may already know, if you have a copy of his book “Bible Word Search.” He tells me that he is currently working on several other books both for children and adults. I am sure that you will find him to be very knowledgeable and informative. On the surface “Look and Find Jesus” will not change. It will still look the same and function in the same way it always has, only the writer will change.

Easter Sunday

As I begin to write this article and to think about what I wanted to say, I realized that no matter what I could write it would not compare to the way that the Easter story is told in the Bible. So I am going to quote Matthew 28:1-10.

EasterAfter the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

A Good Friday Devotion

The final observance before Easter is Good Friday. Once again Good Friday is a church term and cannot be found in the Bible, but on that day believers place even more emphasis than usual on the sacrificial death on the cross of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Good FridayFollowing is a short poem that is one of my personal favorites. While I cannot show my devotion to Jesus in the same way as the little dog, there are so many things that I can do. Everyday in everything that we do we show, not to God but to the world, how much we love Jesus. As I compare my actions to that of the little dog, I must wonder whose love is greater.

I wonder if Christ had a little black dog
All curly and wooly like mine;
With two long silky ears,
And a nose round and wet,
And two eyes brown and tender that shine.

I’m afraid he hadn’t because I have read
How He prayed in the garden alone;
For all his friends and disciples had fled-
Even Peter-the one called a stone.

And I’m so sure that the little black dog
With heart so tender and warm,
Would never have left Him to suffer alone
But creeping right under His arm

Would have licked the dear fingers
in agony clasped
And counting all favors but loss;
When they took Him away
Would have trotted behind
And followed Him right to the Cross.

Maundy Thursday – Remembering Jesus’ Gift To Us

After Palm Sunday the next observance during Holy Week in many churches is that of Maundy Thursday. Maundy Thursday is also a church term and not found in the Bible. On this day believers remember the establishment of the Lord’s Supper. Jesus met with his disciples on the first day of Passover. At this time they ate unleaven bread, which symbolized Christ’s body, and drank from the fruit of the vine, which symbolized Christ’s blood. This meal was meant to be eaten again and again until Jesus returns.

The establishment of the Lord’s Supper is recorded in Matthew 26:26-30, Mark 14:22-26, Luke 22:19-22 and 1 Corinthians 11:23-26. Following is the account given in Matthew 26:26-30.

Maundy Thursday Lord's SupperWhile they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”

Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

While we should remember and give thanks 24/7 for the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross, so that we may live with him forever, we all need to make the additional remembrance by eating the bread and drinking the fruit of the vine as he instructed us when he established the Lord’s Supper.

Palm Sunday

Palm SundayDuring the first several centuries after the crucifixion of Jesus Christians remembered both the death and resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday. Gradually the time that was taken to honor the passion of Christ grew to be one week long and became known as Holy Week. Holy Week begins with the celebration of Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem on what is now called Palm Sunday. Palm Sunday is a church label and cannot be found in the Bible. Rather, the Bible refers to this event as “The Triumphal Entry.”

The story of “The Triumphal Entry” is recorded in Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:28-44, and John 12:12-19. In Mark 11:8-10 we read, “Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, ‘Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!’”

Today many churches celebrate Palm Sunday by distributing palm branches to worshippers and perhaps having a processional re-enacting Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.

Lent : The Seven Last Words Of Christ

Lent Jesus on the CrossSince we are now in the middle of the Lenten season, I wanted to discuss what is called “The Seven Last Words of Christ.” As Jesus hung dying on the cross he made seven statements. Each statement is referred to as a “word.” The first three words were said between 9AM and noon, and the last four were said close to 3PM. You cannot find a list of these words in the Bible in the same way that you find the Ten Commandments, but they are there. The purpose of this blog post is to tell you what these words are and where you can find them.

The first statement, “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing,” is recorded in Luke 23:34. Since the entire reason for Jesus’ death on the cross was to grant forgiveness for their sins to everyone who believes and trusts in him, Jesus has established that purpose with this statement.

The second statement, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise,” is recorded in Luke 23:43. This promise given to a penitent thief gives us a look into the future and tells us what happens after a believer’s death.

The third statement, “…he said to his mother, ‘Dear woman, here is your son,’ and to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother,’” is recorded in John 19:26-27. With this statement Jesus provided for the care of his mother by his disciple John. From that day forward Mary lived in John’s home and he provided for her.

The last four statements were said close together at 3PM. The fourth statement, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” is recorded in Mark 15:34 and Matthew 27:46. This was a cry expressing the emotional pain that Jesus felt as he alone took on his shoulders the sins of the entire world.

The fifth statement, “I am thirsty,” is recorded in John 19:28. This was an expression of physical pain and his lips were moistened with some wine vinegar. This was the drink of the ordinary people at that time.

After being given the drink Jesus uttered the sixth statement, “It is finished,” which is recorded in John 19:30. This was not a cry of defeat but rather a cry of victory. Jesus had completed what he had come to do. Salvation was available for everyone who believed and trusted in him.

With that Jesus said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit,” recorded in Luke 23:46, the seventh and last statement.

These words are extremely important. They were made while Jesus was completing the final steps for our salvation. This was something that no one before or since could accomplish. For this reason I have included these words and their location under our page titled “Things to Know.”

Lent Reflection – The Cross and The Star Thrower

Once again I found this in my collection of articles, but am not sure how it came into my possession. During this Lenten season I believe it is a good article to share.

Lent ReflectionLoren Eiseley, a naturalist, tells a story about a star thrower. He was in the seaside town of Costabel, and, plagued by insomnia, spent the early morning hours walking the beach. Each day at sunrise, he found townspeople combing the sand for starfish which had washed ashore during the night, to kill them for commercial purposes. Eiseley thought this was a sign, however small, of all the ways the world says NO to life.

One morning, however, Eiseley got up unusually early, and discovered a solitary figure on the beach. This man, too, was gathering starfish, but each time he found one alive he would pick it up and throw it as far as he could out beyond the breaking surf, back to the nurturing ocean from which it came. As days went by, Eiseley found this man embarked on his mission of mercy each morning, seven days a week, no matter the weather.

Eiseley called this man “The Star Thrower.” On the beach in Costabel, everything that Eiseley had been taught about evolution and the survival of the fittest was contradicted by one man. For this man, strong as he was, reached down to save the weak. Eiseley wondered if there is a star-thrower at work in the universe, a God who contradicts death, a God whose nature is mercy itself.

During this season of Lent, our focus is on the Cross. This cross is one of the ways that human beings said NO to life. And yet, through the cross of Jesus, God says a resounding Yes to life. Through this cross of Jesus, God reaches down to save us from ourselves. Through this cross of Jesus, God rescues us from certain death – he hurls us back into the fullness of life. And he invites us to take up our crosses and follow him – to become star throwers ourselves, cherishing life for all people. Through the Cross of Jesus, God invites us to join our voices with his in a resounding YES to life.

Why We Celebrate Lent?

Cross 4 LentAs we approach the upcoming celebration of Easter, many churches observe the penitential period known as Lent. The observance of Lent began during the 2nd century as a period of fasting in preparation for Easter. Early Christians believed so strongly in the significance of what Jesus had done for them that they felt the need to prepare themselves, so that they could be worthy to celebrate Easter, thus the beginning of Lent. Over the next couple centuries the period of time was extended to 40 days before Easter not including Sundays. This transferred into 46 days beginning on a Wednesday, which became known as Ash Wednesday. Churches today observe Ash Wednesday with special services and by placing an ashen cross on the foreheads of believers.

In today’s society the original significance of Lent has been greatly reduced. In the words of one contemporary song we tell Jesus, “You are worthy of my praise.” We should turn that the other way and become concerned about whether or not we are worthy of what Jesus did for us, just as the early Christians did.

The Transfiguration of Jesus

On the Sunday before the first day of Lent many churches celebrate the transfiguration of our Lord. The word transfiguration means to change in form or appearance in a way that elevates or idealizes. The transfiguration of Jesus is reported in Matthew 17:1-13, Mark 9:2-13, and Luke 9:28-36. Following is a portion of the story as told in Matthew 17:1-8.

Transfiguration of JesusAfter six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.

Peter said to Jesus, “Lord it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters – one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”

While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”

When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.

The transfiguration gave Peter, James, and John a look at the glory of Jesus. This glory which is still hidden from us will be revealed fully when Jesus returns again. Mark 13:26 says, “At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.” There was also encouragement for the disciples who were discouraged after having been reminded that Jesus’ suffering and death were fast approaching. Also, Moses’ and Elijah’s appearance confirmed Jesus’ statement in Matthew 5:17. “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” At the transfiguration Moses is representative of the Law and the promise of salvation, and Elijah is representative of the Prophets.

As we think about the transfiguration we must remember that this is the second time that God announces that Jesus is His Son and that we should listen to him. The glory that was revealed that day to Peter, James, and John should also be a comfort to us as we await the second coming, when Jesus returns in all His glory to defeat all the violence and corruption of this world.