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Posts Tagged ‘Jesus Christ’

Verse 18-19: “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.””

Amanda Marie McCoy, a scientist in the employ of billionaire industrialist Lex Luthor, had collated all the data she could on Superman and his friends and acquaintances. Luthor was trying to find out more about the newly revealed Man of Steel. McCoy was explaining to Luthor how there was an incredible amount of connections between Clark Kent and Superman; Luthor wanted to know what that relationship was. Feeding the information into Lexcorp’s computer system, the result appeared on the monitor: “Clark Kent is Superman”.

McCoy was astounded, but found the conclusion logical. Lex, however, didn’t share her reaction:

“Logical. Is it? To a machine perhaps. Yes…A soulless machine might make that deduction. But not Lex Luthor! I know better! I know that no man with the power of Superman would ever pretend to be a mere human! Such power is to be constantly exploited. Such power is to be used!!”

McCoy tried to reason the data’s reliability, but Lex wouldn’t hear it. He angrily ordered her to remove the data from his computers, and then remove herself from his employ. His last words of that issue are interesting: “I have no place in my organization for people who cannot see the obvious!”

(The above was found in the last pages of Superman Vol. 2, issue 2, by DC Comics. John Byrne was writing this new revamp of the Man of Steel in the 1980’s. I reference the comic page image at https://www.bleedingcool.com/2014/05/21/lex-luthors-big-surprise-from-forever-evil-7-spoilers/)

This to me, is a good parallel to today’s verse from Paul. He quotes Is 29:14 in relaying to the Corinthian church how the so-called religious leaders and “wise” people did not understand the message of the cross and what Jesus Christ did to redeem us. They didn’t want to hear it either; it was foolish to them! Just like arrogant Lex Luthor, who couldn’t understand that Clark Kent (raised by Jonathan and Martha Kent and instilled with their values) was Superman and used his powers to help people. To Luthor’s smug wisdom, it wouldn’t dawn on him to acknowledge that those with power should help others. Just like the religious leaders of Paul’s day…they couldn’t believe Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God, and would pay our sin debt through His death on the cross and His resurrection. To those who believe and are saved, it truly is the power of God!

Something to think about.

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Verse 13: “Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?”

The college conference that my alma mater belongs to is the SEC – Southeastern Conference. Each member school is proud of its standing, accomplishments, and strengths. You can hear it especially when any teams from any two of the schools play each other. But come college playoff / post-season bowl time, if a member team is up against a member of another conference (especially one that thinks that they’re better than the SEC), the conference pride comes out, and you might well hear the cheers of “S-E-C! S-E-C! S-E-C!” No matter the intra-conference college rivalries, the conference usually stands together.

That is somewhat a loose analogy as to what should be happening in Corinth. Paul is dismayed to discover that, although the church was founded on Jesus Christ, personality divisions have begun taking over: “I am of Paul…I am of Apollos…I am of Cephas…” and some still would say “I am of Christ”. Paul wanted them ALL to say “I am of Christ”! He is reminding them that Jesus Christ is the One who died for their sins, rose again, and lives that we may live in Him! It was not important how they came to Christ…only that they came to Christ! Or, to put it colloquially, Paul wanted to remind them to keep the main thing, the main thing!

Do you belong to the Savior? The introduction is surely not as important as the conversation.

Something to think about.

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I checked recently, and I last went through the books of 1 and 2 Corinthians sometime around 2009 (wow, almost a decade). After I completed the last study, I felt called by God to revisit those twin set of letters from Paul. You see, back when my church did a summer reading walkthrough of Psalms, I started sharing revelations that God showed me through the study. When we finished, I had several friends on the list ask me, “Well, you’re not going to stop now, are you?” The very next study we went through in this almost 10-year-old ministry was the Corinthians. Seeing how God’s Word is “active and sharper than any two-edged sword”, I thought it might be interesting to revisit these books to see what God wants to show us. So…back to Corinth!

I Cor. 1: 1,2,9:
“Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,”
“To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:”
“God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”

We answer calls in different ways; take the following 2 examples:

The other morning, I logged into my work computer to find out (so I thought) that I had to report to the Disaster Recovery drill we hold twice a year. “Oh, great.” I thought. Not only was I not prepared, I thought it was someone else’s turn at this. So, I trudged over to the building to report to the drill room, not looking forward to spending hours in this room until our responsibilities were discharged. I vented to the Lord on the way…but He was already ahead of me. Turns out the tag-team oncall who took the first watch for our team had already verified all that we had to do (he had just not told me!) Furthermore, my manager later apologized and told me my name was listed for DR by mistake. As I left, I looked heavenward and prayed, “Thank you, Lord…and I’m sorry I had to the wrong attitude about this.”

Contrast that with Eugene Judd, a bouncer for a Canadian bar. He and the bartender had observed one of the waitresses getting manhandled by a couple of punks, so he went over to correct them. The punks laughed at first, because Judd was a dwarf, only a few feet tall, However, Eugene Judd was also the secret Canadian operative code-named Puck! He soon manhandled the two punks right out of the bar! No sooner had the dust cleared than a hypersonic signal came across a device implanted behind one of Judd’s ears. “The call”, he whispered, “THE CALL!” He went happily cartwheeling out of the bar and down the street. You see, the call was from the Canadian super-team known as Alpha Flight, whom Judd thought had disbanded…but now, with the call, he knew it would be time for action against some menace. (This was from my recollection of Alpha Flight #1 from Marvel Comics).

2 different calls, one real, one fictional. Both were answered, but the attitude was different. You’ll note in the Scripture verses above the verbs “called” and “call”. Paul and the Corinthian church were called by God, and they in turn call on the name of Jesus Christ. Both calls are important, laden with responsibility. Paul was reminding the church about how important it is to “answer the call”. And, we Christians know, that at all times, Jesus is just a call away in prayer.

Have you answered the call today? Have you already answered the most important call you could get (to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior)? If not….better answer that call before it’s too late!

Something to think about.

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Rev. 5:5: “But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.”

The last time we talked about Jesus as the Lamb of God. What would seem an opposing title is today’s topic, the Lion of Judah.

One of those questions you ponder when you have time to think about it, is, “Why is the lion called the King of the Beasts/Jungle?” Some light research led me to Quora.com, where I took a few samples of information that came up on my Google search:

“Lion is known to be the King of Beasts (“king of the jungle” would be a misnomer) across most cultures of the world. This is mostly because of a lion’s appearance and partly because of the social structure of a pride and the lion’s role in the pride.” “It is usually called the king of beasts because of its royal appearance the mane gives lions, and because they live in prides.” – Why is the lion called ‘The King of beasts’? – Quora (https://www.quora.com/Why-is-the-lion-called-The-King-of-beasts)

As a young child I saw an animated version of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe on television. At the time I didn’t recognize the simile that C.S. Lewis was weaving into the Chronicles of Narnia – this was my first exposure to it. I remember the scene where Aslan the Lion lays down his life on the altar and is killed by the White Witch; at the time, I thought, “but he is the hero, right?” Then when Susan and Lucy discover the altar broken and that Aslan lived again….then, I recognize who Aslan represented (no wonder Lewis chose a lion as the representation!):

“Aslan is the only character to appear in all seven books of the Chronicles of Narnia. Aslan represents Jesus Christ, according to the author, C. S. Lewis, who uses the allegory in the books that Aslan is the Lion and the Lamb, which also says in the Bible about God.” – Aslan | The Chronicles of Narnia Wiki | FANDOM powered by Wikia (narnia.wikia.com/wiki/Aslan).

The lion is seen as king; what better title for Jesus Christ, our King, than the Lion of Judah.

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John 1:29: “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!””

Night of the Lepus” was a science fiction/horror film from 1972, starring Stuart Whitman, Janet Leigh, Rory Calhoun, Paul Fix, and DeForest Kelley. In this film, the monstrous antagonist was kept secret in press releases and trailers. Finally, when the film debuted, the audiences saw that the monstrous creatures stalking the humans were…giant…bunny…rabbits. Yep, you read right. Giant bunnies that had become carnivorous were the monsters in this film. Now, you can make a lot of animals look vicious or creepy: spiders, snakes, bugs, wolves, bears, bats, etc….but bunny rabbits? Even as a child watching this film, my only thought was “they don’t look scary”…not even with ketchup on their mouths to be the effect of blood! Believe it or not, this was based on a novel, The Year of the Angry Rabbit , by Russell Braddon (I’m sure something got lost in translation from book to film). This movie went down in the annals of B-movies and camp. Who would believe a killer bunny? (more information can be read at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Night_of_the_Lepus).

Our Savior has many titles, but one may strike non-Christians as odd. Jesus has been described as King, God, Lord, Savior, Shepherd, and Alpha and Omega. But do you realize one of His titles is…the Lamb of God? “A lamb?” you might ask. Yes, because besides all of His mighty titles, Jesus Christ came as a living sacrifice to pay our sin debt. In Bible times, sacrifices were made at the temple to pay for atonement from sins. Often, a spotless animal was the sacrifice, and in many of those cases, it was a lamb without blemish. A lamb, meek and mild. Our Savior is the Lamb of God; He willingly went to the cross to pay a debt we couldn’t pay…the only spotless, perfect sacrifice that could be made. The world might ask, “your Lord is a Lamb?” Yes…THE LAMB OF GOD. Unlike Hollywood movies, this is fact, not fiction.

Something to think about!

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2 Cor. 9:15 “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!”

“One Froggy Evening” was a 1955 Looney Tunes cartoon that has gone on to become one of the masterpieces in cartoon history. It tells the story of an unnamed construction worker, helping to demolish an old building. As he is uncovering the cornerstone, he finds a time capsule of sorts. Included in this collection, a frog hops out. Once he spies the fellow looking back at him, the frog dons a top hat, grabs a cane, and starts dancing and singing “Hello, Ma Baby”!

What a gift! A singing/dancing frog! Does the fellow enjoy this gift that he has uncovered? Does he take him home to enjoy the unheard-of talents for such an amphibian? No, he does like most of us would do…dollar signs dancing in his head, he tries to find a way to cash in on his new discovery. The trouble is, every time he tries to show the frog’s talent, the frog reverts to type, sits there and croaks. He’ll only perform for the man and only if it is just the man watching. Through a series of attempts to get rich, the man becomes bankrupt, homeless, thrown in an asylum for being crazy, and finally becoming free again. Spying the construction site of a new building, he quickly puts the box with the frog in it inside its cornerstone, and runs away free. Years later in the future, a spacesuit-garbed “demolition man” is disintegrating the now old building. He find the frog, the frog dances and sings for him,…and history repeats itself as he scurries away with his gift, looking to cash in.

We, as Christians, have come into possession of a Gift offered to us. The Gift of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. He paid the penalty of sin for us, and through accepting Him as Lord and Savior in our lives, guarantees us eternal life in Heaven. A set of dictionaries filled with every positive adjective in the English language would utterly fail at adding to the one adjective used in 2 Corinthians to describe this Gift: Indescribable. As such, we need to remember that we don’t need to waste the precious value of this Gift of God. We don’t need to behave like “heathens” brazenly continuing to sin just because we have “fire insurance”. We need to live for Jesus every day, telling others about Him, so that we can help share this Gift. We certainly don’t need to keep it to ourselves! People will see the value of this Gift, if they see the change that is brought in our lives by Jesus. Remember, we may be the only exposure of Jesus some people might see.

So what are you going to do with your Gift today?

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John 15:1 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.”

We were doing some yard work recently, and my wife was complimenting me on the trimming of a small tree/bush near my son’s window. My wife noticed that some leaves poking out were different from the other leaves she saw. While she was looking at the leaves, I was tracing the branches down to the root. While we were discussing if it was the same plant or not, I commented, “Honey, you’re looking at the leaves, and I’m looking at the roots!” Sure enough, it turns out that new leaves were part of one tree, and the other leaves belonged to a second tree growing close alongside. To look at it from far off, you would think it was the same tree, but when you look closely, you see which tree which branch of leaves belongs to.

Jesus was telling His disciples that they cannot bear fruit unless they abide in Him. Just like a branch cannot bear fruit unless it is attached ultimately to the roots, we cannot bear Christian witness or works apart from Jesus Christ. He is our Source. When I was a little boy, my grandmother had some grapevines that strung across an old bed spring-like fencing. Unfortunately, also in this fencing was poison oak. I didn’t want to touch either because I couldn’t tell which was which. Of course, once the grapes started growing, I could easily tell where the true grapevine was.

Jesus also told his disciples that God “prunes” the good branches to produce more fruit; if He has branches not producing fruit, they are taken away. Once you accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, your salvation is guaranteed and you are going to Heaven. But we also need to use our gifts and abilities (that God gave us, by the way) to glorify Him and serve Him, else those gifts get rusty or fall into disuse…and what a waste of God-given talents that would be!

Tis better to be a fruit-producing branch of the True Vine; wouldn’t you agree?

Something to think about.

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