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Posts Tagged ‘Christ’

Isaiah 28:16 – “Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, A tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; Whoever believes will not act hastily.””
Ephesians 2:20 – “having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone,”

The following dialogue comes from the new Super Secret Secret Squirrel cartoon, which Hanna-Barbera aired as part of the show 2 Stupid Dogs.

Secret Squirrel was locked up in a cell in a straitjacket. A microscopic menace named Quark had made it look like he was crazy so that he would be locked up. Quark was destroying massive buildings, to which Secret asked him: “how could a subatomic speck like you destroy all those structures?”

Quark: “oh, it’s so simple; I just pulled out the bottom atom!” (which he demonstrates by removing the bottom atom of the stool Secret had sat upon, causing it to crumble.)

After bragging about his plan to wipe out North America for his entertainment career, he escapes. Suddenly the wall falls down; there stands Secret’s faithful sidekick, Morocco Mole!

Secret: “Morocco!”
Morocco: “Secret! I knew you weren’t crazy. You’re only crazy about catching criminals!”
Secret: “Thanks, Morocco. By the way, how did you knock down that huge wall?”
Morocco: “Simple; I just pulled out the bottom brick! heh.” (showing Secret the bottom brick as he unties him.)

Now what that humorous cartoon points out is a very simple construction fact: most all structures have a dependent component that the rest of the building is fabricated upon. It’s known as the cornerstone in most buildings. Wikipedia defines a cornerstone as “The cornerstone (or foundation stone or setting stone) is the first stone set in the construction of a masonry foundation, important since all other stones will be set in reference to this stone, thus determining the position of the entire structure. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cornerstone)

My father, a retired brick mason, always started laying out a building by constructing a corner to build the intersecting walls off of; without that steady corner, the walls wouldn’t be sound enough.

What is Jesus without the church? Well, He is still the Messiah, the Christ, the Savior, God; that doesn’t change. What is the church without Jesus? That’s the point in a nutshell. Without Jesus, the church would be like other religions that eventually cave in and collapse. It would be a shell, a sham, a house of cards that would fold under pressure.

Christian, remember today that Jesus is the Cornerstone of your faith; faith built upon such a Rock can stand up to anything.

Something to think about.

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Verses 1-2: “”Brethren and fathers, hear my defense before you now.” And when they heard that he spoke to them in the Hebrew language, they kept all the more silent.”

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me,
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

As Christians, we all claim sentiments to the meaning of this old hymn. Paul, probably more so than anybody, lived this hymn almost verbatim. Here he is now, laying out his defense, by telling the mob where he came from, how he persecuted Christians, how he was saved, and how he lived and preached for Christ now. Just the story, the witness, of Paul is incredible. Maybe the mob might have been calmed had he left it at that…but Paul must tell them all the story, of how God has called him to spread the Gospel to not just the Jews, but the Gentiles, too. In the next few verses, this is where circumstances take an interesting turn.

More to come.

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Verses 2-3: “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”

There is a scene in the movie The Matrix, where Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) is walking through a crowd of people in the city with Neo (Keanu Reeves). Morpheus is telling Neo about how all the people are still attached to the Matrix, and some are so engrained that they are not ready to be “unplugged”. During this walk-and-talk, Morpheus seems to wade effortlessly through the crowd, encountering no resistance. Neo, on the other hand, is focused on trying to keep up, bumping into people, still looking at “the world” around him, trying to listen to Morpheus…when he gets distracted by a striking blond beauty in a red dress walking past them. His head turning, he follows her with his eyes, until he hears Morpheus (his back to Neo) say, “Are you listening to what I’m saying, Neo?…..or are you looking at the woman in the red dress?” Neo stammers for a minute; Morpheus tells him to “look again”. Turning around the woman is now Agent Smith, one of the Sentinel programs, gun drawn and about to blow Neo’s head off. Morpheus orders Tank to freeze the program; all “the world” around them freezes in time. Neo finds out that this was a training program, designed to teach him about the Sentinel programs that can hijack anyone plugged in the Matrix. It is to teach him where to keep his focus; in Morpheus’s words “if you are not one of us, you are one of them”.

Paul is reminding the Colossians to focus on things of Heaven, not of earth. Similar to how Neo looked at the Matrix world after being unplugged, remembering his “memories” and realizing now that they weren’t real, Christians shouldn’t attach the same importance to things of this world, when it’s a Heavenly world we should be focused on. We serve a Heavenly Father, saved by a Heavenly Son, to be used by Him to do Heaven’s work, while we are here on earth.

Something to think about.

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Verses 22-25, 28-29, 33: “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.”
“So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.”
“Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”

My wife and I were discussing these verses. There is a wealth of devotions that we could write on this subject alone. If you look around society today, you’ll see the institutions of marriage, wives, and husbands under attack. As a husband, I have a book on my shelf (which I admit I need to reread) called “Four Pillars of a Man’s Heart” by Stu Weber. In that book he gives a good visual representation of four pillars holding up a roof, and what happens when one or more are not centered as they were meant to be.

Basically though, I guess the devotion to share on this today is:

According to the Word:
If husbands did what they were supposed to do…
And wives did what they were supposed to do…
Then divorce lawyers would have nothing to do!

Something to think about today.

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Verse 18: “But it is good always to be eagerly sought in a commendable manner, and not only when I am present with you.”

Our pastor focused on a very important topic tonight for churches; how visitors feel welcome. Sometimes, as he pointed out, a visitor can size up in 15 seconds whether he’ll come back to a church or not. This sermon also served to launch a new focus on our greeting committee, and the importance of helping a visitor feel welcome in God’s house. It is nice to be greeted, as well as nice to be missed when one is absent. You can tell when someone is sincerely and enthusiastically glad to see you or glad to welcome you.

Paul had previously been welcomed warmly by the Galatian church and the message he brought was received with zeal. The Judaizers were trying to turn that zeal against him and the message of the Gospel by their “additions”. Paul acknowledges the church’s zeal, but reminds them of where it should be placed and in Whom it should be placed.

That’s the funny thing about being on fire for something; when it catches hold of you, you are said to be truly ablaze, not smoldering. Are you ablaze for Christ?

Something to think about.

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Verse 13: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE”–”

I love to play board games with my family and friends. All games, of course, have rules. It has often bemused me (between chuckling and rolling my eyes) to see my sons play a game they made up, and then make up rules on the fly! Especially if the one making the rules is losing! (I think I remember seeing Calvin and Hobbes do something like this in the comic strips!)

We went to the Lego store down at Disneyworld during a vacation once; I purchased a small Lego game called Ramses’ Return, a sequel game to Ramses’ Pyramid, I think. Once you “assemble” the game (remember it’s made of Lego’s) and learn the rules, you can play it. What is neat is that the Lego makers of the game encourage the players to add rules for variety (but write them down, of course!). My sons and I each assembled customized Lego figures down at the store and bought them. So, I added one of my custom figures as a “roll the dice” helper. If the mummy lands in your area while you have some of the treasures that you’re trying to escape with, you get sent back to the beginning and lose that treasure. I added a heroic bionic archaeologist (don’t laugh, this is my Lego character, I created him! 🙂 ) that, if you roll the right color, will save you from the mummy and help you keep the treasure.

Paul continues his arguments on the Judaizers’ insistence of the law by reminding them (through quotes of Scripture in Deuteronomy 27:26 and Habakkuk 2:4) that the law only punishes; it doesn’t save. Faith was always the way to justification. As the Holman Concordance on Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians puts it on page 37: “The Judaizers would have been wrong in their fundamental message even if they had lived during the time of Moses, because they misunderstood the purpose and power of the law.” Christ came to take the curse of sin on Himself through His sacrifice. It is only through Him that we are redeemed and free. So why add a bunch of rules that you don’t have to follow anymore? Christ has already provided the saving rescue…and through Him, you’ve “won the game”.

Have a blessed day in Him.

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