Archive for March, 2013

Investing in Easter, The Anger of the King

When was the last time you were really angry? This morning? Last year?

Now figure out why you were so angry.

For me, it’s usually because I feel someone didn’t treat me the way I felt like they should have. Or maybe I didn’t get my way. One time I was so angry, I hit my husband with a Scrabble box. Not exactly  righteous anger.

Yet, that’s the kind of anger Jesus had when He entered the temple in Jerusalem. People buying and selling merchandise. In fact, He was so angry, He overturned tables and threw people out.

Why was He so angry? Here’s what He said as He quoted from Jeremiah:

“Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations?’ But you have made it a robbers’ den.” Mark 11:17

Imagine that. Commercialism in the church.


We still do that today.

Crowding out our worship with commercialism. Idols. Stuff.

Forgetting to pray.

Remember, this week, we’re investing in Easter. Thinking about the cross. Meditating on its significance. Savoring its beauty.

Don’t forget the message of Easter in the midst of this world.

God became man to live a sinless life in order to pay for our sins.

What are sins? Sure, the ten commandments–that’s a given. But sin is living apart from God. Planning our own lives. Being captain of our own ships.

I remember when a famous singer died, the headline read, “He Did It His Way.”

Not really.

Check out this verse:

“Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, for His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!” Psalm 2:12 (NASB)

How can I say this…


Take refuge in the Christ of the Cross.

For those of us who’ve already done that, thank Him. Praise Him. Pray to Him.

And by all means, clean out your temple.

Here’s a song by Chris Tomlin to help you savor the cross.

Blessings, my friend.

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Investing in Easter, The Entrance of the King

I live in Florida. At least for now. The palm tree pictured above is right outside my living room window–try not to covet.

Yesterday was Palm Sunday. If you attended church, you probably heard a message from the gospels about Christ entering Jerusalem and the crowd throwing branches down for Jesus. Take a look at Matthew 21:1-11. Here it is from the NIV:

1 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, ”Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.” 4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: 5 ”Say to the Daughter of Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’ “ 6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them. 8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest!” 10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” 11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”

Since it’s 2000 years later, we know the end of that story. The same people who cried “Hosanna” which means “Save now,” cried crucify Him only a few days later. They weren’t looking for a Savior from sin, but a warrior against Rome.

I kind of like to think they wanted a McSavior: quick, convenient, and cheap.

Notice the end of the passage. The crowds asked, “Who is this?”

It makes me think of another question Jesus asked His disciples in Matthew 16:13-17. First He asks who the people say that He is. The disciples answer some say John the Baptist, Jeremiah, a prophet.

Then He gets specific. He asks them, “But who do you say that I am?”

Peter replies, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

I’m asking you that same question, friend. Who do you say Jesus is? A good man? A prophet?

He claimed to be the Messiah. He claimed to be the Son of God.

Your answer to that question determines your eternal destiny. It can’t be the “McQuick” answer. Take a look at this:

“if anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” Luke 14:26, 27.

A life of belief means a life of sacrifice.

But an eternity of benefits.

See you tomorrow.







What If You Could Get Away With Murder?

Here is my last video blog on Romans 4:13-25

It’s about 8 minutes and points to the cross of Christ. A great place to be, especially around Easter:

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Dirt Under My Nails

We hopped in the car after working at home all afternoon. Time was short. Our house needed to be on the market by the end of the week in order to fulfill our dream of starving to death as farmers in North Carolina.

Tom changed both his shirt and pants after he spent the day caulking. I wore the same leggings that I’d scraped paint off of a of a screen as I sat on the dusty driveway. I figured my long, bright yellow shirt would hide the stained t-shirt and cover the dust on my pants.

We arrived and chose seats away from the congregation in case we smelled.

As our pastor, Steve, continued his series on Revelation, I glanced down. Caked dirt lay underneath broken nails. Distracted, I tried to clean them. I failed. My nails were too short and I didn’t have the right tools with me.

Better get used to it. A farmer’s wife probably has her share of dirty nails.

Steve went on. “While we’re on earth, we’re frustrated and discouraged by our own sin. Again and again we fail. But one day, we will be in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ, and we will be perfect. No more struggles with sin.”

I looked at my nails and smiled.

One day, I’ll have a manicured heart.

No more proud thoughts. No more impatient words. No more selfish actions.


“Even so, Lord Jesus Come.”



That’s God’s Music

Here’s an article published in The War Cry, December 2012. You can link to it at (You have to scroll down a bit), or read it below:

That’s God’s Music

From the December 2012 issue of the War Cry:

Salvation Army Band performing in the snow.It was almost Christmas. Michigan City, Indiana, whispered winter. Cold. Snow. Why would anyone be out on such a night?

Lieutenant Ray Wert had to go out. The Salvation Army corps held its Salvation meeting Sunday nights. Before each meeting he and a few faithful soldiers would go to the usual corner and offer an invitation to attend. Salvationists call it an Open Air meeting.

As usual, the small contingent would announce that Jesus saves lost sinners, then invite anyone interested to follow the Army band into the corps or church and hear an unabridged message from the pulpit. Afterward, the lieutenant would record information about the evening in his book of statistics.

A small group of Salvationists marched to the corner the week before Christmas. They sang, spoke and played dilapidated brass instruments.

No one stopped. No one even passed.

Another one for just the statistician, Lieutenant Wert thought.

A few months later a woman approached lieutenant during an Open Air on that same street corner. It was springtime, and many stopped to listen or to mock the fanatical people in their funny uniforms. The woman waited until the 15 minute service ended.

“Excuse me, sir. Are you the officer here?”

“Yes, my name is Lieutenant Wert.”

“Were you at this same street corner the week before Christmas?”

“I haven’t missed a week in the last two years,” he answered. “Yes, there were a few of us out that night. Why do you ask?”

“My father lived in that apartment above the store there.” She pointed to a dingy building just up the street. “He’d been in a coma for the last six months. My father’s body was there, but he was not.” She wiped her nose on a stiff handkerchief and tucked it into her white purse.

“We heard the strains of the band music as it played hymns. Daddy sat straight up in his bed and said ‘That’s God’s music!’ And with that, he lay back down and died. Thank you Lieutenant Wert. You’ll never know how much that meant to me. Thank you so much!”

As the little band of Salvationists marched back to the corps, there was a spring in their steps and thanks in their hearts.

By Pauline Hylton