I truly appreciate the beauty and simplicity of the book of Proverbs. It has been a favorite of mine for many years. Continue reading “Proverbs: God’s wisdom for life.”
As I began preparing for this week’s bulletin article, I quickly realized that I have never written an article about Easter. I’m not sure why I have never broached the subject. Perhaps, it’s about the traditional view of the church and the fact that most still participate. Most of us know that the traditional view of the church is that we don’t participate in any celebration or holiday that is not authorized from Scripture. Yet, we also know that most of us still do. I am sure most of us have bought candy, eggs, even stuffed Easter bunnies. It seems that while we know and agree with the logic of refraining but still go along with it because we don’t want to disappoint the kids. Plus, we always look forward to watching the kids run around like crazy people trying to find an egg with a single piece of candy. It seems they enjoy every aspect of the holiday.
We know full well that Easter is not about bunny rabbits, eggs, or candy. We know that the point is the resurrection of Jesus and the celebration of new life.
Most of us have heard the numerous reasons why we shouldn’t participate in Easter celebrations. We are told that unless Scripture commands it we can’t do it. Yet, we know that we do many things that are not commanded and justify it with a logic that is questionable at times. Most things that are labeled expediencies are simply because it helps us accomplish what God wants. Does the Father want us to remember the Son, remember His love, remember His resurrection? If Easter helps us focus on Jesus, worship him, and focus on the resurrection; why is that a bad thing?
We are told that Easter was originally linked to a Babylonian fertility god and that participation is worshipping this false god. The truth is that this is a myth based on a faulty translation by Bede in the 2nd century (McRoy, 2009). There are no direct or indirect links to any false gods embedded in Easter. Yet, we do know that worship is not something that is accidental. No one can say, “Oops, I just worshipped!” According to Scripture, worship is an intentional act at an intentional place. This means that what I intend to do determines if I am worshipping. I cannot worship any god, real or imagined, by accident.
So, what’s the point of Easter? It is meant to help us focus on Jesus, on His death, burial, and resurrection from the grave. Without the resurrection, we would not have the hope of life after death, or an eternity in heaven. Easter is meant to help us worship our Lord and refocus our lives on Him. Let me encourage you to focus on Jesus, focus on His resurrection from the grave, and let that truth encourage your heart and spirit. The promise of Easter is the promise of life after death for each one of us.
 The empty tomb of Jesus is historical fact, not just a religious idea. Even the Jews confess that the tomb was empty.
McRoy, A. (2009, April 2). Was Easter Borrowed from a Pagan Holiday? Retrieved from Christianity Today: http://www.christianitytoday.com/history/2009/april/was-easter-borrowed-from-pagan-holiday.html?share=%2fD%2bnuKyuY4dIKpsCAgddx5IkfUXHg1EZ
For many years, I read the Psalms as historical works of poetry that were theological in purpose. I believed their primary purpose was to reveal something about God. Now don’t misunderstand me; Psalms teaches us a lot about God and our relationship to Him but that is not their purpose. Continue reading “Psalms: a window into the heart of man.”
The story of Job is familiar to most of us. Even those who are not Christians have heard about Job and his story of loss and pain. We, as Christians, have likely read it numerous times, heard Bible classes and sermons about it, and yet, I would contend that there are not many today who truly understand the bigger point of this story. Continue reading “Job: a story about trusting God.”
Often when someone mentions the book of Esther the main point is often God’s providence. I find it ironic that God is not even mentioned in the book while thoroughly teaching us about God’s perfect sovereignty and timing. Continue reading “Esther: a story about responsibilities.”
Roughly twelve years after Ezra had successfully rebuilt the temple and restored the worship of God, Nehemiah returns to Jerusalem to rebuild the city walls. Together they were a formable team that restored the political and spiritual state of Israel.
The story of Ezra is an encouraging story about the grace and mercy of God. Continue reading “Ezra: a book about starting over.”
The history of Israel is both an inspiring story of victory and faith and a cautionary tale. Repeatedly they moved from faithfulness to indifference; from outright rebellion to humble repentance. The story of Israel is a single story about a nation who struggles to live in a relationship with the all-powerful God of heaven. Continue reading “Step by Step: an introduction to Ezra and Nehemiah.”
The books of First and Second Chronicles were originally one book. Together they tell the story of God’s people from the earliest of times to the years following the return from exile in Babylonia. Most think they continue the story of First and Second King’s, but it does not. Actually, they lay the foundation for the stories of Ezra and Nehemiah, and as such, are often the among the last books of the Hebrew Scriptures. Continue reading “1 & 2 Chronicles: A story about the lessons learned from history.”