A Chosen Lamb for the Ultimate Sacrifice

11a 3 lamb           As Jesus approaches, John the Baptist boldly proclaims to all those that were around, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” For all of those that heard this statement whether fully or in part understood the ramification and significance of what John was saying.

When my girls were younger we were picked or maybe you could say, “punished” to be the foster parents of a small yearling lamb that we were to go and pick up from a local rancher. Then it would become our responsibility to bring it home and get it ready for the Easter program; which would entail scrubbing and washing, then drying and fluffing its beautiful wool. My young girls were so excited that they could hardly wait to get started on this adventure. I have to admit in the beginning I was looking forward to showing off my country boy upbringing as well. Once we arrived at the ranch, the gracious rancher took us out to a small pen where he was holding some orphan lambs so he could bottle-feed them. After the girls had a time of playing with each of them and falling in love with all of the lambs it was the moment of truth. My sweet young daughters had to pick just one, the right one! As they thought and talked and discussed and looked each one over and over they finally came to a mutual decision.

After thanking the amused rancher, who had a mysterious twinkle in his eyes making me question whether he knew something that maybe we were missing, we headed home. Well, that was only too soon confirmed when hours later this poor little cute innocent lamb was crying out for help from all the pampering and lavish love my girls were giving it. A bath with foaming suds and layers of soap, then hair dryers blowing from every angle with non-stop kisses from each of the girls.

What seemed to be a glorious memory making and life long lesson for my children seemed to come crashing down, when it became time to turn out the lights and go to bed with a sigh of accomplishment.

If only it would have ended with that fairytale ending. It was only moments after putting the lamb in our enclosed back suburban yard with lights turned off with a prayer and a kiss. That this little lamb must have finally came to the realization that something was drastically wrong and began to cry out for the normalcy of the stable. It was during this continual bleating and every home’s light coming on in our sweet quiet and quaint neighborhood, that I had the revelation of the Passover lamb, which was anything but a sweet child’s pet!

The sound must have been deafening in Goshen that night many years ago when God instituted the Passover and the sacrifice of the unblemished lamb in every home. (Ex 12:3-13) Things had been tense anyway as the show down between Pharaoh and God’s servant Moses came to and end. To the Egyptians it was nothing less than a nightmare and to God’s children it was a magnificent beginning to a journey of God unfolding His love for His people as well as continuing to reveal Jesus Christ as the coming redeemer and the Lamb of God.

That night with what started to be a cute cuddly memory for my daughters had turned into a agony of a bleating lamb in my back yard. It seemed to bring another side to this story more than ever; I now understood the ramification and significance of what John had declared more than two thousand years ago. Jesus came to earth to be our Passover lamb. That through receiving Jesus’ agonizing and horrific sacrifice on the cross we might be redeemed from death and walk in a journey of victory as His children. (Luke 22:14-20)

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Mother’s are the Greatest!

IMG_3737I have a hard time finding the appropriate words to describe how grateful I am of my mother and the mother of my children. These two women have done more for me in my life than anyone else other than my Savior who is the one who has graciously given them to me in the first place. As I reminisce of their impact over the years I truly understand that I will most definitely fall short of properly honoring them. In A Little Spoonful of Chicken Soup for the Mother’s Soul, Marion C. Garretty is quoted saying,“A Mother’s love is the fuel that enables a normal human being to do the impossible”.

In Prov 31:29-30 we read a King’s mother sharing her wisdom to the King and brings honor to the women who has shaped him as well as us. We read, “There are many fine women in the world, but you are the best of them all!” Charm can be deceptive and beauty doesn’t last, but a woman who fears and reverences God shall be greatly praised.(NLT)

I want to say I acknowledge that my wife and mother of our children, as well as, my mother are great gifts from God and I can only hope to live a life that brings them the honor that they deserve. I remember some of the attributes that I saw in my wife when we first met and began a friendship, it was a deep love that seemed to ooze from her for God and His word. We began our relationship by going on outreaches together where we


I Stand in Awe as I think How Much of a Blessing Mothers Are to Us!  


would have to spend time fasting and praying with the team. It was during these times of seeing her great reverence for the Lord that I saw her beauty inside and out. And let me say she was a knock out beauty on the outside, but the inside beauty was the substance that raised our children to live Godly lives and help countless other people that were in need along the journey. I remember many nights of her going and holding the hand of different ones that were dying or sitting and interceding with so many others whom were tormented and abused in their darkest hours before their healing came.

I so agree with what President Abraham Lincoln believed and said about his mother, “All that I am or hope to be I owe to my angel mother. I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.” I remember often my own mother’s prayers would awaken me in the mornings or they would get my


I am so Glad God gave me a Mother that Reflected Him!


attention as she took her common prayer walks through our ranch property. I chuckle often when I am reminded about the times that her bold prayers for people in restaurants or around town would embarrass me and make me feel uncomfortable. Yet, now I think back on how those prayers must have been so impacting, not only to me but also to many others.

In 1 Sam 25:1-42 we see the unfolding story of Nabal and his wife Abigail, and how her righteous character stood in the gap before David to spare her husband and workers od death, because of Nabal’s foolishness. She risked her own life to protect others.

A mother is one that stands in the gap with intercession and moves with wisdom as she holds together the family in midst of turmoil and shakiness. One person said it best when they said, “No gift to your mother can ever equal her gift to you – life”. We know that no mother is perfect but one thing for sure is her actions and sacrifice deserves to be praised and honored. So join me as we do it this week!

 

When the Chocolates Box is Empty

o-empty-chocolate-box-facebookAs the sun comes through the kitchen window with rays of hope for another day, the wilting roses and empty boxes of chocolates are being filed away with memories of yesterday. It’s almost with the same intensity of coming off of a sugar high that the week of romance and love comes to a close. If we think that a card, some candy and maybe a dinner all by itself will carry our relationships through another year, we will probably be rudely awaken in the coming days. The sad reality in many relationships is that over the course of time things have slowly deteriorated to the point of needing a “Urgent Care” for relationships to get them going in the right direction again. And


Maybe we need to build lasting marriages instead of a day of fleeting emotionalism.   (tweet)


even worse are those couples that were swept off of their feet with only emotional infatuation and no foundational principles for a lasting relationship of any kind.

If the piles of chocolates in the stores and truckloads of flowers aren’t evidence enough. The consumer reports from previous years let us know that people are totally committed and consumed with this day of love. Could it possibly be that our strategy for a loving relationship might be wrong even though our motives are commendable. Maybe we need to build lasting marriages instead of a day of fleeting emotionalism.

Our marriages and different relationships can be like the mountain paths I grew up hiking. Many of them would cut through different terrain and gradually climb up towards their destination. Yet, many times you would come across windfalls, which


God must be intertwined in our Marriage!     (tweet)


are trees that have fallen over the trail because of different circumstances such as lightening, wind, disease or brittle with age. Whatever the reasoning, these windfalls ultimately hinder or even stop the journey. In the same manner many marriage relationships are also hindered from getting to the top of the summit because of windfalls.

Let’s take a look at some windfalls that can have severe consequences in our relationships. There can be many, but some of the most common ones are; lack of communication, strained trust for one another, life-controlling problems, unresolved Continue reading

God’s Love Isn’t Puppy Love

Hair Of The Dog: Pooch Becomes Insta-FamousThe red foil rapped heart boxes and mountains of chocolate cherries seemed to shout the announcement of the season of love. It’s time to order roses and reserve dinner for two. Ready or not the marketing of big business has pressured every individual to consider his or her love life one way or another. Whether it is like Donny Osmond’s song many years ago “It’s puppy love” or the love of your life for so many years it’s time to “show the love”.

The Beatle’s song, “All you need is love…” is only true if you define “Love” as the Bible says in I Jn 4:7-8, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”


We can accomplish the greatest achievements in the world but if we don’t love others with God’s love it is useless   (tweet)


It’s when we begin to allow songs, poems, as well as our own feelings to define love that it can get distorted and totally off base. God Himself is love and when we identify and reflect Him then we will begin to act like He is. In other words we will bear fruit (Gal 2:22) and show evidence of being grafted in the “Vine”(Jn. 15:5). God made us with desires and feelings to be able to fulfill His will in the earth. He Himself is a God of relationships. But, only through His statutes and plan can they keep pure and whole. When we move outside of His plan then our love can easily turn into a Continue reading

His Love Written in Blood!

165500423Like most young boys growing up we reenacted what we saw on our favorite TV shows. I loved the old westerns and therefore played with my brother and friends dressed in cowboy hats and chaps. I remember just as we saw on an episode, we would make a blood covenant by pricking our fingers and letting our blood mingle. Though we were just young boys playing and having fun, the message that we were reenacting was a realistic method of coming into a strong commitment and sealing it with your own blood. It implied a person was serious about making an agreement and becoming a faithful friend. In Deut 12:23, it says that the blood is the life in the body. Therefore spilling of blood in a covenant represented a commitment of your life.

Paul writes to the Christians in Rome letting them know that when we were all in the valley of hopelessness Christ intervened and rescued us. In verse eight of Rom 5, it reads, “God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” In other words when you and I were on our journey in life doing our own thing, not even desiring a change, God sent His Son to purchase and pluck us out of the bondage of sin. He illustrated His love for us through His actions.


Jesus’ ultimate gift to mankind… “His love written in His blood!”   (tweet)


Verse nine signifies we are saved and made just in the sight of God through the payment with the blood of Jesus. This was a fulfillment to the Levitical Law concerning the payment for sin with the shedding of the blood of animal sacrifice.

Let me remind you of a story that played out on January 26th, 2005 when a California train derailed. Sadly to say it killed 11 people and injured over 200. One of those 200 was a 44 year old man named John Phipps and his story which…. Continue reading

Your Love Letter Still Moves Me!

95465434The envelopes are getting tattered and the ink is starting to fade. But yet I find myself pulling out those priceless letters I have kept for so many years. The goose bumps go up my spine every time I reread the love letters my wife sent me when we were dating. The words keep melting my heart time after time, whether from a week or decades ago, I am moved by the words she wrote to me.

I think you can relate, right? It might have been a note from your first real girl or boy friend or even from a parent or grandparent. But words of love still penetrate us. There is just something about love communicated that moves us and brightens our days.

So how long has it been since you have taken His love letter down from the shelf or out of the drawer and blew the dust off of it? It’s probably time to read again God’s love letter to you. How much more than notes from a sweetheart should our Creator’s words of love move us?


He has you on His mind and penned His words of love to you. (tweet)


He has you on His mind and penned His words of love to you. Not just a one liner or quick note, but thousands of words. We read the words of the Psalmist in Ps 40:5 saying, “Your thoughts toward us cannot be recounted …they are more than can be numbered”. But, so often we push them off as out of date, non-relevant or even unbelievable. The Bible in short is God communicating His love, His purpose and His destiny for us. Jer 29:11-12 says His thoughts towards us are “of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope”.

God’s love letter to us, the Bible, is more than a good history book. Better than any other book of poetry and so much more than a list of religious “do’s and don’ts”. The God of all creation is madly in love with you! God loves you! That gives me chills just saying it! His unconditional love for us is beyond any “so called” expression of love we might have experienced from others. It is deeper, wider and taller than anything else. Like it says in Eph 3:18-19, “that you… may be able to comprehend … what is the width and length and depth and height to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge”.

You can feel the love flowing all through the Bible. It reveals how He demonstrated His great love for us by sending Christ to die in our place while we were still sinners. (Rom 5:8) God himself declares that His word will never just fade away. And totally opposite of the politician’s words and promises, God’s word will not return as empty promises. In Isaiah 55 we read, “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void”.


The God of all creation is madly in love with you!   (tweet)


In Rom 8:34 we read with a long list of different things, that nothing can separate us from God’s love. God is madly in love with you! There’s nothing that you can do to separate yourself from His love. Even when we turn our backs on Him, our Heavenly Father continues to look for us and stands with His arms outstretched for our return. So let me ask you, “why do so many people refuse to embrace His love and choose to live a life of consequences?” I just don’t get it!

Who Left the Gate Open?

The unprecedented news quickly exploded through every news outlet of the 5 to 4 Supreme Court decision favoring same sex marriage. The highest court has single handily redefined marriage, opposing the words of Jesus (Matt. 19:1-9). In spite of this country’s Godly heritage, it now seems that America has opened the gate to turn away from being one nation under God.
Different opinions spread on social media such as, “Love Wins” making it look as if this was a debate of love or hate for the gay community. This decision is not about love and hate, but about keeping the statues of God so that we can live a protected and blessed life (Ps. 33:12).
The Bible teaches us that Jesus died on the cross because He loved mankind and wanted to redeem us. (Jn. 3:16-17) It goes on to say that He didn’t come to condemn but to save us. In other words Jesus didn’t go to the cross because He hated certain individuals, but on the contrary it was because of His love towards them! Yet, many people interpret His purpose and message as hate and condemnation. Let me try and explain this with a story.
When my children were young we lived in an older part of Chicago where the streets are narrow and very busy. I had given my sweet little toddler a kiss and slipped out the back door to start mowing the yard not realizing that the door hadn’t latched behind me. Once I was finished in the back I moved to the front yard leaving the gate open making it easier to get the mower back to the garage. Unbeknownst to me this made for a perfect storm.
Moments later I looked up in complete horror to see my daughter getting ready to step out into the busy street. She had innocently gone through the uninhibited doors and gates unaware of any danger. My fatherly instinct provoked me to yell with urgency “Stop”. Causing my naïve toddler to uncontrollably cry thinking I was upset at her. She misinterpreted my love and desire to keep her safe for a dissatisfaction and anger towards her personally. My yelling was out of desperation to keep her from proceeding into a dangerous road where she would most assuredly get hurt. I had been so preoccupied with the work at hand that I left the gate wide open giving opportunity for her to possibly get seriously hurt.


Real love won on the cross over two thousand years ago (tweet)   


In like manner, this debate is not about God or God’s people hating certain ones, but about maintaining the boundaries He has set. Making sure that there isn’t any gate left opened in our society. Real love won on the cross over two thousand years ago. In 1 Jn 4:7-8 it says that God is love and those that follow Him need to reflect Him through love even while we stand for truth. Jesus went to the cross to free mankind from dangerous actions and lifestyles that would bring bondage. God is not a “Cosmic Kill Joy” wanting you to miss out but a loving Heavenly Father who wants to protect us and give us abundant life. He has set healthy borders that will produce a life of blessing if we follow them and will insure that we don’t begin down a slippery slope leading to destruction. God loves the person but came to deliver them from the works and deception of the evil one. (1 Jn. 3:8)