Tuesday, July 20, 2010


On July 6, 2010, the Colorado Rockies engineered one of the greatest comebacks in major league baseball history. The visiting St. Louis Cardinals took a 9 - 3 lead into the last half of the ninth inning. The Rockies were down to their final 3 outs. Rarely does a team ever overcome such a large deficit in their last at-bat. But Colorado defied the odds on that day. After struggling to put just 3 runs on the board through the first 8 innings, they exploded for 9 runs in the last half of the 9th for the win. Not many teams have ever accomplished such a feat. In fact, according to those who keep track of such statistics, it was only the third time in major league history that a team scored nine or more runs in the last inning of a walk-off win. The other two both occurred way back in 1901. What an amazing comeback!

May I share with you the story of an even greater comeback -- the greatest comeback of all? The battered body of Jesus was lying in its borrowed tomb. Some friends had given the body of their Master what little attention they could before the Sabbath and then gently placed it in darkened recesses of Joseph’s burial chamber. They would return after the Sabbath to complete the burial preparations. The disciples of Jesus were scattered, fearful for their own lives. Most among the Jewish leadership were likely glad to finally be rid of the blasphemous impostor from Nazareth. And Satan himself must have been been sporting a devilish grin, thinking he had finally triumphed over God Himself. Game over, right???

Wrong! God wasn’t done yet. He had one more at bat and, by the time the dust settled on that eventful weekend, the score would be reversed. Jesus Christ was raised from the dead by the power of God, defeating sin and death in the process. No extra innings needed in this contest! The saved of all ages can lift the banner of Christ high and truly proclaim: Game over!

God loves you!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

"The Lord Kept His Word..."

Abraham was 75 years old when God called him to leave nearly everything familiar and go to a land he knew nothing about. God’s promise to transform Abraham’s tiny family into a great nation and to use him to bless all the families on earth must have seemed incredible to him at the time, but he launched out in faith anyway.

At a later point, when God speaks again concerning His promise, Abraham reminds God that he still doesn’t have a son. To his way of thinking, it is pretty hard to be a father of a great nation when you are not even the father of one child. He even tried to “help” God out by having a child with a servant in his household.

Nearly 25 years go by before God finally tells Abraham that Sarah will become pregnant with the the long-awaited child of promise. When he hears the news, Abraham stifles a laugh and thinks to himself: “How could I become a father at the age of 100... And how can Sarah have a baby when she is ninety years old?” (Genesis 17:17). Abraham thinks that the window of opportunity had passed them by. When he suggests to God that Ishmael, the child born to him by the servant Hagar, become the child of promise, he is refused. God clearly tells Abraham: “But My covenant will be confirmed with Isaac, who will be born to you and Sarah about his time next year” (Genesis 17:21).

Well, what happened? “The Lord kept His word and did for Sarah exactly what he had promised. She became pregnant, and she gave birth to a son for Abraham in his old age. This happened at just the time God had said it would” (Genesis 21:1-2).

Why do we doubt the promises of God? Like Abraham, it is often because we dwell on our own circumstances or set our own time table. Lord, please help me to strengthen my own faith so I can fully trust in Your promises.

God loves you!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Is Your Religion Burdensome?

“Then Jesus said, ‘Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light’” (Matthew 11:28-30; NLT).

Contrast Jesus’ perspective on serving God with that of the religious leaders of His day. According to Jesus, the scribes and the Pharisees “...crush people with unbearable religious demands and never lift a finger to ease the burden” (Matthew 23:4; NLT). Their burdensome rules regarding tithing fostered neglect of more important matters (Matthew 23:23-24). They were so busy creating numerous regulations concerning external hygiene that they ignored internal purity (Matthew 23:25-27). Because of their influence, the joyful task of serving God had become unbearable. What Jesus offered as an easy yoke and a light burden had become unrecognizable.

It is so very easy to make serving God a burdensome endeavor. It can happen when we have the best of intentions and it can take many different forms. Human plans and programs begin to rise to the level of Divine mandate. Guilt becomes the prime source of motivation. Faithfulness is judged according to human criteria instead of God’s standards. Success starts being measured in increments that impress us (like numbers, programs, and flashy worship) instead of what impresses God (like spiritual growth, humble service, and love).

When serving God starts becoming burdensome, it is time to re-evaluate our religion. Perhaps we are going about it all wrong. A religion that promotes and produces weariness is not the religion of Jesus Christ. Will a faithful disciple want to do things for the Master? Sure, but it is activity that should produce calmness and peace. It is service that should be refreshing rather than draining. Remember, we don’t have to impress our Savior. He offers rest, not more weariness.

God loves you!