Monday, April 16, 2012

The Greatest Story Ever Told... Yet

Whenever the Easter season, or for those who are ‘religiously’ correct, “the time that is told of the Resurrection” comes around, television stations and the like, show stories like The Greatest Story Ever Told, The Easter Story, The Story of Jesus, The Passion of the Christ, and others.  Some churches even put on plays depicting the life of Jesus.  And while it may be good as far as storytelling goes, what we need to understand is that the life of Jesus, is so much more than a story or a play.  And it is something that should be told not just around March or April, but every season of the year.

The real story of Easter, lives on in the personhood of Jesus Christ.  As all these stories end, they tell you that Jesus was crucified, BUT, He rose again.  So “Easter, the Resurrection” lives on. That is why I believe that to show television programs and movies, and plays, only at this time of year, depicts and sends the wrong message.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not condemning the shows at all to a degree.  The problem that I have is that they are stories.  Shown as such.  Made to highlight certain things, made to emphasize and to minimize other things, (often what the director deems as not important)  and they are made to stir up emotions.  And while they are based on real life and what might have really happened, often times the stories are embellished and over told.  The “director” adds some stuff to it and takes some stuff away.  And since this is the story of Jesus, what they are doing is adding and taking away from The Word.  (In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word became flesh.  Jesus Christ).  And there is a danger in that because God said, ‘Neither add nor take away from this book.’  (The Bible, His Word).  But the people who do the shows and direct the plays, when they do it for emphasis of a particular subject, they end up adding and taking away.   So you might say, what’s the big deal?  People are getting saved, they’re learning about Jesus… your point is.. what?   

Yes, people may actually come to the cross, they may actually accept Jesus and the work that He did, they may even learn something about Jesus, but some are operating based on their emotions.  It is not the faith that God requires that we have, that moves them, it’s their emotions.  It is how the strands on the violin are played before their eyes that bring them to want to say yes.  And in a few short months if you would go to these very same people, their emotional high is gone and so is their relationship with Jesus until the next time Easter season rolls around.  And that’s the danger. 

The Story of Jesus, the Easter Story is real life.  People need to know that.  It’s not just a story.  It’s not a fairy tale and it’s not simply pages in a book.  It’s the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  With real “characters”, for lack of a better word, with real life issues and circumstances, starring a real person, Jesus Christ, both man and God, who went to a real cross, really died and really came back to life.

The Greatest Story Ever Told, is not just a story.  And if we see it as a story we will tend to see it as a part of a book.  And as with all books, we can easily scan over or flip the pages of the parts that we don’t like.  We can close our eyes to the things that we don’t want to see.  We can look past some stuff that we don’t agree with.   And there’s a danger to all of this, because if we skip past some things, we will miss out on others.  And when we start to look for miracles in our life, they won’t manifest because we haven’t understood the instructions. The Word, on receiving the miracle.  Which you can only receive by faith.  Not by emotion.

The Passion of the Christ is not just a movie, it’s not just a story, it’s the gospel of Jesus Christ.  His life.  The beating He took for real.  And if we receive it as such, we will come to truly know, understand and receive all that He did as real.  And live our own lives based on what He did.  We will be reminded of Isaiah, “He was beaten for our transgression, bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon Him and by His stripes we are healed.”  When we receive Jesus as more than a story, we will confess His Word over our bodies, especially when they start acting outside of the Word, contrary to what we know Jesus did for us when He went to the cross and actually believe that we are healed.  

When we really know that The Easter Story is more than a play, we will live our lives on purpose, knowing that is what He went to the cross to give us.  Meaning and purpose.  A life and that more abundantly.   If we remember the life of Jesus and not just take it as story, when we see the cross, any cross, it will actually have meaning to us.  It will have significance.  We’ll remember that Jesus Christ really carried a cross, His cross, and so must we.  Because we all have our crosses to bear.

The Easter Story is more than a story because stories end.  But life goes on.  Jesus is alive! 

The Story of Jesus is more than a story.  It’s a script that is still being written, about a real God, Who still saves, Who still reigns, Who still heals, Who still performs miracles. 

The Greatest Story Ever Told is YET being written. 

And we need to put our faith in the One that is doing the writing, for real. 

Be blessed,

Sis. E

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

God's Hot Pursuit

I was reminded of a rerun of My Wife and Kids.  And for those of you who are not familiar with the show, it was a TV comedy back in the early 2000s starring Damon Wayans and Tisha Campbell about a husband, Michael Kyle, his wife (Jay) and their three children, Junior, Claire and Katie.  It was really a funny show, along the line of the Cosby Show.

Anyway, on this particular episode, Jay is away and Michael has to tend to the needs of Katie, his youngest daughter, who was about 7 at the time.  And everything that Michael tried to do for Katie wasn’t good enough for her.  She missed her mommy and she let him know.  “That’s not what Mommy does,” she said, “That’s not how Mommy makes it.”  And no matter how hard Michael tried to please her, he couldn’t.  So finally he sits her down and he lets her know how bad he feels that she doesn’t see how much he loves her.  And I don’t remember the exact words she said to him, but it made him say this to her, “Katie, I have been trying to win your heart since the day you were born.”  And you hear this awww, from the audience.  And it was a precious moment.  Because you could see how much he had been pouring out his heart trying to win Katie over.

And as I thought about that, immediately God spoke those same words to my spirit, “I have been trying to win your heart since the day you were born.”   God has been trying to win our hearts since the day we were born.  He is constantly pursuing us.  Constantly beckoning us to come.  To come to Him.  To follow after Him.  To come close to Him, to have faith.  To believe Him, to trust Him, to let Him in our hearts, to let Him fix things for us.  God is constantly trying to impress us in some way.  No matter how much we pull away from Him, no matter how much we show Him we don’t want to be bothered sometime, that it’s too hard to believe… God is yet in hot pursuit of us.  Calling us to draw nearer to Him and in the words of my husband, “Let Him Love Us.”

The Song of Solomon says in 2:10, “Arise my darling, my beautiful one, and come with me.”  Picture that God telling you that.  You are His darling, His beautiful ones.  In Isaiah, God says “come and let us reason together and He will make our sins as white as snow.”   In Matthew 11:28 He says, “Come unto Me all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.”     Our God, our Almighty God, bidding us to come.  And He never stops.  He is in hot pursuit of us.  Desiring us to believe.  Desiring us to be saved.

Jesus told Peter to come, just as God is telling us.  Desiring us to believe Him.  To take Him at His word.  He invites us to come boldly to His throne of grace that we may obtain help in our time of need. 

God is constantly in pursuit of us.  Of you.  Doing everything in His power to win your heart.  He sends people our way to speak a Word of life to us when we are feeling low.  He comforts us and gives us peace that we don’t understand.  He meets our needs when we least expect Him to.  He heals our bodies, takes care of our children and our loved ones.  Yeah, that was God when you look back at some things and you realize that somehow you made it through.  You are yet alive.  You are yet still here and so are they. 

God has been trying to win your heart since the day you were born.  So much so, that even before you were born He came up with a plan to save you, by sending Jesus to die for you.  That you would be whole, that you would have life, eternal and abundant. 

And I want you to know just like Michael Kyle did with Katie, God won’t stop bidding you to come.   He won’t stop loving on you, no matter how much you turn him away.  No matter how much you say nothing is ever good enough, He will keep on trying to show you just how much He loves you.  God is in hot pursuit of you and He has been since the day you were born.

I pray you let Him love on you and I pray you would come to realize just how much He wants to.

God is real. 

Be blessed.

A servant of the Lord,
Sis. E