In the history of the world, there have been seasons or eras of great darkness. One example in the last century was the Great Depression which was sandwiched between the two Great World Wars. These three events cast a dark shadow over the world for about thirty-one continual years. The world has been under a shadow of darkness since the fall of man in the book of Genesis.
Amid this darkness, there have been periods of relative peace and prosperity. Jesus spoke about this darkness and His light, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NKJV).
“For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6 NKJV).
The day of Christ’s crucifixion was a dark day when the sinless Lamb of God was stripped, beaten, crucified, and killed. It was the fulfillment of God’s plan for the Sinless Son to die for the sinners of the world. “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor. 5:21 NKJV).
When John the Baptist was in prison, he sent two of his disciples to Jesus to ask a question, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?” (Matt. 11:3 NKJV). It seems a strange question coming from the prophet who saw the Spirit descending like a dove on Jesus and hearing the voice of the Father declaring from Heaven, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 3:17 NKJV).
One would think John would not have had any second thoughts. Of course, I can sit in the comforts of my home and speculate, but I’m not in a cold, damp, stinking dungeon. Maybe he thought, If the Messiah has come, then why has my situation turned into a miserable mess?
I remember as a child singing the hymn written by James Rowe and titled “Redeemed” with the refrain bouncing off the walls of our country church and settling into my spirit,
I’m redeemed by love divine!
Glory, glory! Christ is mine, Christ is mine!
All to Him I now resign, resign
I have been redeemed, redeemed!
Redemption Parable One day vicious raiders from the north country raided our village. They broke into all our houses, stealing all the precious items our families had worked hard to provide. The men were ruthless and merciless.
Jesus was not born in Bethlehem so we could have Christmas. We celebrate Christmas because He came. Why did Jesus need to come? To unpack this answer, we are not going to the stable in Bethlehem but to a garden called Eden.
How could I say that I have accepted Jesus, chose Yahweh to be my God, and Holy Spirit to fill me? As if I was shopping for a god and thought they were a great bargain.
No—the realization that He chose me. He came to me in my brokenness, revealing His completeness and perfection. At the time, I could not have articulated these words, but in retrospect I can see Him coming to me, instead of me going to Him.
Recently, I was cooking some cheese toast to accompany my wife’s chili. I used up the last piece in an old bag and some from a new bag, leaving three end-pieces. I was about to throw the end-pieces in the garbage and suddenly I became convicted.
My friend, Mitchell Gibbs, had written a post about his daddy a few weeks ago. As a boy, Mitchell was about to throw a crust of bread into the fire and his daddy scolded him not to throw food away. If he didn’t want to eat it, there were a lot of hungry critters who would gladly eat his throw-aways.
So, instead of throwing my end-pieces in the garbage, I threw them where my yard meets the woods. A stray dog, possum, or bird would have a small feast on my throw-aways.
Bread has been called the staff of life. If you have bread, chances are you have something to put with it. I love bread and I love something to put on it. A PB&J has come close to saving my life.
When the Children of Israel came out of Egypt, God gave them manna from Heaven. They ate it for forty years, eating manna sandwiches and manna pudding. Jesus told his listeners, that the manna was not the bread from Heaven, but He was. He even compared His flesh to the bread He broke with his disciples at the Last Supper.
I need physical bread and I need Jesus. He has been my staff of life for some time now. In our world of slop thrown out, He is the constant source of strength and nourishment for my soul. If I did not have Him, I would surely die from not enough.
I pray you have bread aplenty. I pray you have Jesus, the true and lasting Bread from Heaven.
God feeds even the birds of the air. The next time you have an end-piece, help Him with the task.
We try in the ministry to which the Lord has set our hands, to give the Bread of Jesus to hungry souls and the bread from grain to hungry bellies. We are thankful for the whole loaves and even the end-pieces we receive to share with others.
I love the Word of God. The gems of truth we can mine from its depths are invaluable treasures. When I can connect the dots between the Old Testament and the New Testament, it is the reward of the student. The strong truth of the Word comes at the right time bringing me back into alignment with the heart of God.
The message of the Cross of Christ is the simple message of salvation for all to embrace and believe.
Regret is a bad dream on a never-ending replay loop. I think most of us have some of those past events or choices of which we regret. “I wish I hadn’t done that!” or “I wish I would have made a better choice there!”
I know this is a rhetorical question, but I must ask it anyway, “Can we go back and change it?” Of course, the answer is an emphatic, “NO!” There is nothing we can do to change the decision or the action of the past. That door is shut and cannot be opened.