Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Ascension's Great Joy

Today is the fortieth day after Easter, and the celebration of Christ's ascension into heaven.

"And they...returned to Jerusalem with great joy" (Luke 24:52).

Twice in his Gospel, Luke has the words "great joy."  The first time is Christmas: "And the angel said to them, 'Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy'" (Luke 2:10).  The second time is Ascension.  Today is a day for joy, great joy, a joy that knows no end!

Reason says that the disciples should have been sad at their dear Lord's departure.  But their faith sees and thinks differently.  Their faith is so full of His birth, death, resurrection, Word, forgiveness, and promise of the Holy Spirit, there is no room left over for sadness.

May the same be true of your heart!

JOY has been defined as "Jesus, Others, Yourself."  Look first to your Savior.  Then to the needs of your neighbor.  And then you will find yourself - and the great joy of the Gospel!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Cocos Fire: Lesson Taught

It's all over now.  But last week the Cocos Fire in San Marcos, California, caused the evacuation of thousands, including me.  The fire came within a few hundred feet of my home.  In spiritual terms, it was a rehearsal for the day I will have to leave behind all earthly things.  The following devotion is by Richard Wurmbrand (1909-2001) and has my attention more than before.

"Seek the things that are above" (Col. 3:1).

A Christian put the inscription, Linquenda, on the front of his house, which means in Latin, "I will have to leave it."

It is good to remember that one day we will have to leave our business, our library, our beloved ones, our body.

A beggar knocked at the gate of a rich man and asked for one night's lodging.

The rich man shouted, "I cannot let you in.  This is not a hotel."

The beggar answered, "Please, forgive me.  I will seek shelter somewhere else.  Your house really impresses me by its beauty.  I will not bother you, but please satisfy my curiosity.  Who built this house?"

The rich man, friendlier now that he knew he would not have to put up with the stranger, replied, "My father built it."

"Very nice.  Is he still alive?"

"No, he died and I inherited it."

"Do you have children?  Who will inherit it when you will die?"

"My eldest son.  He just married.  He will live in it after my decease."

The beggar then said, "Well, the house is just what I thought it to be - a hotel.  It is the first time I saw a hotel owner getting angry when someone asked for a room."

All of our houses are hotels.  I don't have the slightest idea who stayed in the house, where I write these lines, before I entered it.  I don't know who will succeed me.  Linquenda - we will have to leave all.

Jesus came to invite us to an eternal abode, to His paradise.  Detach your mind and your lusts from the transitory.  You will have to leave it anyway.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Sheep Faith

Swine flu is a blessing in disguise.  It can be used to remind Christians that they suffer from another condition: sheep faith.

"The sheep hear His voice" (John 10:3).  Amid so many other sounds and scares, Christians hear the voice of Christ, their Shepherd.  His voice and words speak faith into our anxious hearts.  And because He is risen, we will never be without His voice.

Much is made of the "I am" statements of Jesus.  "I am the good shepherd" (John 10:11).  But you too have an "I am" statement:

I am Jesus' little lamb,
Ever glad at heart I am;
For my Shepherd gently guides me,
Knows my need and well provides me,
Loves me ev'ry day the same,
Even calls me by my name.

A heart that is always glad.  Such is the main symptom of sheep faith.