All posts tagged Christ

A Father’s Day Tribute and Challenge

Here is my latest post from CBN.com

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Crying Out to the Most High

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“If you put some money in the kettle, we’ll stop singing!” my larger than life father shouted as we manned a Salvation Army stand on Christmas Eve. He would throw his head back, laugh and then remind those around him how funny he was.

Since my parents were Salvation Army officers, and my sisters had their own families, it was usually the three of us plowing through that busy season. Last-minute-Christmas shoppingand singing questionable three-part-harmony on the kettles became our tradition.

As a teenager, I’d roll my eyes when my father did something embarrassing. I wouldn’t now.

Dad entered heaven ten years ago, and I still miss him. Especially on Father’s Day. I have possession of his Salvation Army Songbook and New Testament. His left-handed all caps print is noticeable in many of the margins. In this book are personal notes about the songs and humble prayers of a man who failed much—and knew it. Often his prayer centered on forgiveness, but many times he cried out for a deeper relationship with the Lord.

His passion and prayers still speak to me.

Reading through the first few chapters of Nehemiah, I also feel the depth of his passion and his prayers. Heartbroken because Jerusalem lies desolate with no walls, he fasts and prays—crying out to the Most High, confessing his sin, and the sin of his people while lifting up the name of Jehovah. Listen to this:

“O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps his covenant of unfailing love with those who love him and obey his commands, listen to my prayer! Look down and see me praying night and day for your people Israel. I confess that we have sinned against you. Yes, even my own family and I have sinned! We have sinned terribly by not obeying the commands, decrees, and regulations that you gave us through your servant Moses.”Nehemiah 1:5-7 (NLT)

With Mother’s Day behind us, and Father’s Day right around the corner, I’ve been wondering how I will be remembered. Will it be for complaining or discontentment? Will my children think of the times I yelled or functioned at just a notch above crazy?

I hope not. My desire is for them to remember me in the same way Paul remembered Timothy’s mother and grandmother in 2 Timothy 1:5,

“I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you.”

Genuine faith—not perfect—a woman of passionate prayer and humble repentance.

Just like my father. Just like Nehemiah. Just like a myriad of others who pressed on in this fallen world, looking for a better place.

What about you? How will you be remembered?

Let’s passionately pray about it together.

Copyright © 2018 Pauline Hylton, used with permission.

It’s Not Just a Hallmark Event

I love Christmas as much as the next middle-aged, menopausal, woman. But perhaps I don’t love it for the same reasons as most.

Christmas isn’t just about Hallmark, or gifts, or Black Friday, or Cyber Monday.

You know what I am going to say next…

It’s about Jesus.

But I am not even sure, when I mention His name, we are thinking about the same person. Yes, Jesus was born in a manger and it makes a terrific story, and a great nativity scene with cute little lambs, staffed shepherds, and mysterious wise men.

Here is what I celebrate. Jesus came as a baby yes, but He came to die.

That is the real story.

Humor me a bit with a long Scripture passage from the New Living Translation:

Christ Is Supreme

15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.
    He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation
16 for through him God created everything
    in the heavenly realms and on earth.
He made the things we can see
    and the things we can’t see—
such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.
    Everything was created through him and for him.
17 He existed before anything else,
    and he holds all creation together.
18 Christ is also the head of the church,
    which is his body.
He is the beginning,
    supreme over all who rise from the dead
    So he is first in everything.
19 For God in all his fullness
    was pleased to live in Christ,
20 and through him God reconciled
    everything to himself.
He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth
    by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.

All those inspired words are great, but I would like you to pay special attention to the last verse. God reconciled and made peace with us by means of Christs’ death on the cross. That is great news.

Why?

I’d like to give you an example from a sermon I heard from J D Greer. He asked the listener to imagine themselves with binoculars on a hill observing a terrorist camp. You knew their plan was to devastate thousands of innocent people. You watched them practice use of their guns, and even may have seen a form of torture, but when they all sat down to have lunch. One of the terrorists noticed his buddy didn’t have anything to eat. This generous terrorist cut his sandwich in half and shared it with his buddy.

In any other circumstance his act of sacrifice would be considered good.

But not in this situation. The over-arching-evil somehow negates the good.

The human race is that generous terrorist. The Bible states we are born in sin. Enemies of God. And He is just and right to condemn us because compared to Him, our meager good is like filthy rags.

And then God Himself comes as a baby to die on a cross.

That is the Christmas I celebrate.

I hope you do, too.

Over the next few weeks, on Fridays, I’d like to talk with you more about Jesus as a Prophet, Priest, and King. I hope you will join me in celebrating Christmas that is much more than trees or ornaments or presents.

Let us celebrate the real reason for the season.

Insignificantly Significant

Yesterday, I spent the entire morning cleaning out 12 nesting boxes, the chicken coop floor, our dog run, and a litter box. (I can’t get my photos to turn so just turn your head.)

The thought occurred to me that lots of people throughout history have been either enslaved or employed to do all sorts of unpleasant, menial labor their entire lives.

It’s humbling to me.

You see, I thought I was going to be famous.

Some of you knew that.

And sometimes when I’m shoveling chicken manure, I wonder if my life will ever count for anything.

Because I’m proud.

Many of you knew that, too.

When I travel to places, (besides my coop) I’m often overwhelmed with my insignificance. A big world filled with billions of people in overcrowded cities. I feel both overwhelmed and small.

But feeling insignificant  is good for me. It helps me understand my real priorities.

Yesterday, while I slopped unpleasant smelling stuff, I thought about my friends. If you saw them on the street, you wouldn’t notice them. They’re just every day folk.

Although you might not notice them, they mean a lot to me. And, more importantly, they mean a lot to the Creator of the universe.

Scripture says in the book of Matthew that the Lord knows when a sparrow falls. Psalm 139 tells us that God knew us before we were born.

Our pastor just started a series from I Corinthians 15 is helping me determine both my priorities and my significance. I’d encourage you to read it. It’s about the resurrection of Christ and the resurrection of believers in Christ.

As a spoiled American Christian, I often forget about the resurrection. That’s ’cause I’m comfortable. I have food, shelter, entertainment, health–dark chocolate, even.

But throughout history many believers have had nothing, yet they were rich. Their life had meaning.

Remember the story Jesus told about the man who begged at the gate and the rich man passed him by. When they died, the rich man was tormented and the beggar comforted. In other words, the man who was significant on earth lost everything and the poor beggar gained everything.

We are transients here. This isn’t our home. C.S.Lewis called this world, “Shadowland.”

One day, those who have trusted Christ as their Savior will be united with Him in heaven. And, we will be resurrected.

That is significant.

It makes all that we do significant if we are doing it for the Lord.

Even shoveling chicken poop.

I’m Insignificantly, Significant.

And so are you.

 

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.

Shameful.

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…

Repent.

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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