REFLECTIONS IN THE MIDST OF TRAGEDY

The nation is numb and in shock once again at another senseless and cowardly act of violence that has occurred. Early Wednesday morning, in Moneta, Virginia, a disgruntled man cold bloodily gunned down on live TV two unsuspecting news journalists. Such evil we cannot comprehend. It leaves us numb, in tears, shakihopeng our heads, and with questions that can’t be answered. What in the name of all that is morally good would cause someone to commit such inhuman violence on innocent victims? What is to be our response when such brutal acts shake the very foundation of our Christian faith in a loving God?

I certainly don’t claim to have many answers in the face of such tragedy, but if I might I would like to offer some reflections from a biblical and pastoral perspective. In the midst of such awful tragedy the question of “Why” can never be answered and will drive us to spiritual exhaustion. However, when our minds want to ponder “Why” we must turn our attention to the “WHO” in the midst of our “Whys.” Who are we to turn to is our quest, not necessarily for answers, but for strength and comfort in the darkness of our unanswerable questions?

Man was created with the capacity to make choices, and our fellowman can make choices that at times seem to be those of angels and at other times choices that are demonic. Our capacity to choose is both individualistic and corporate and affects one another for evil and good. Sadly, too often our sinful, selfish, and godless choices and behavior are like ripples in the water affecting those within its boundaries. What are we to do, where are we to turn when the ripples of evil splash upon us?

The foundation of the Christian faith rests upon Jesus Christ in whom God has acted in history when He clothed Himself in human flesh as a Babe at Bethlehem and walked upon the earth. That God has acted continued in Christ’s cross and His resurrection, and because of His victory over death He has promised to abide with us forever. As man our God has wept through human eyes, as God He a seeks to lift us out of our sin and suffering, rather that suffering be the result of our own bad choices or as the result of the evil and violent behavior of others. As Christ wept with Mary and Martha at the death of their brother Lazarus, so He weeps with us over the consequences that sin, whether it be ours or someone else’s, can bring into our lives.

We must not forget that Jesus Christ bore in His physical body, as He hung on the cross, the very worst evil that mankind could inflict. Yet in the midst of the darkness of the worst of evil which Christ experienced He was victorious, and in His victory He provided for us Light in the midst of our darkness, comfort in the midst of our pain, and hope in the midst of what appears hopelessness and senselessness.

We must not forget that because of God’s suffering with Christ on the cross, as He tasted the evil and sin of all mankind, and His triumph over it all that we gain the assurance that God can and will be with us in our suffering and pain. God, who in Christ on the cross was the greatest sufferer of all, is the assurance we will ultimately obtain victory even though tears may temporarily fill our eyes.

P.T. Forsyth has written, “God is able to empathize with all human suffering because He has, in the event of the Cross, experienced the height of suffering…God spared not His own Son from suffering, and in the midst of suffering rose above it; then even in the most dreadful things that man can produce He bids us to follow Him in our sufferings so that His victory might be actualized in us.”

C.A Dinsmore writes, “There was a cross in the heart of God before there was one planted on the green hill outside of Jerusalem. And now that the cross of wood has been taken down, the one in the heart of God abides, and it will remain so long as there is one sinful soul for whom to suffer.”

In the midst of our heart-felt sobs and tears, if we listen closely we can hear the comforting voice our Savior saying, “I understand, for I, too, have suffered and am touched with the suffering and pain that touches you.” Our Christ is not indifferent, He is the Chief sufferer and giver, He is one who has paid the greatest price to secure for us atonement and the comfort that God is with us in our suffering. Forsyth says, “On the cross of God’s incomparable suffering is that it provides us with a concrete model of faith to emulate in our times of suffering: that of the crucified Christ.”

We may never logically understand the suffering that touches us and those we love, but we with the conviction of faith understand that what Christ did on the cross He did for us all. On the cross he took our sin, our heartache, our brokenness, our grief, and our questions; and with a holy love that can’t be intellectually grasped but can be experienced, He entered into a realm of suffering that is beyond our comprehension that we might know His abiding presence in every circumstance and situation of our lives.

Only a few months away from the celebration of the Christmas season, its message being that God in Christ has walked among us in human flesh and as a result He is able to be present in our every situation – both good and bad. Found in the One who was born at Bethlehem is the One who seeks to be born in the “everyday” of our lives.

That Christ lives means we are not alone in our suffering, He is with us. While the world can be cruel, evil, bring us sorrow, and leave us with many unanswered questions, we must remember that in Christ we find comfort, hope and His presence that enables us to continue on in faith as we wait for that Day when He makes all things new and dries every tear from our eyes.

Blessings,

Dr. Dan

THE INTOLERANCE OF JESUS

TheWayThe “religion” of tolerance, that anything goes,  is destroying society. In the politically correct day in which we live, we are told that love tolerates and embraces “all things” regardless of how deviant, destructive or abnormal the behavior, action, activity or idea. After all we are told, “We must practice tolerance, for Jesus did.” We are told that lack of tolerance is a lack of Christian love and is not following the example of Jesus. Is that true?

Jesus loved us enough to leave heaven’s glory and clothe Himself in human flesh, but He was not tolerant of actions that opposed the holiness of His Father. Jesus loves each individual enough to have died on the cross for all humanity, yet it was His intolerance of sin in our lives that caused Him to submit to the cross on our behalf. The holy-love of God that is found in Jesus Christ opposes that which is contrary to His holy nature. God’s love is not sentimentality which tolerates “all things,” but God’s love is grounded in His holiness which is naturally intolerant of that which doesn’t comply with His holy nature. Jesus did not accept everyone’s beliefs and behavior as being true or acceptable. Holy-love doesn’t tolerate sin, but points out its destructive consequences. The holy-love of Jesus found Him associating with all kinds of people, yet He was never tolerant with unholy behavior and His love found Him speaking out against the sin for which He came to die.

Fulton Sheen stated it well, “There is no other subject on which the average mind is so much confused as the subject of tolerance and intolerance. Tolerance applies to persons but never principles. Intolerance applies to principles, but never to persons.” As Christians, we must not sacrifice on the altar of tolerance truths and principles that deal with wrong actions and attitudes which His Word says are sinful and contrary to the nature of our holy God. Jesus didn’t. A few examples of Jesus’ intolerance are cited.

Jesus was intolerant of sinful actions and attitudes. Jesus was intolerant of “self-indulgence,” “hypocrites,” “lawlessness,” “false teachers,” “uncleanness” and those who rejected Him after witnessing His miracles (Matthew 23). He called the Sadducees and Pharisees “serpents,” “brood of vipers,” “full of dead men’s bones” and “white-washed fences.” That doesn’t sound like the words of One who was tolerant of “all things.” It was His holy-love that motivated Him to speak out against such actions and attitudes, for they were contrary to the nature of God and were the sins that nailed Him to the cross. Christ’s intolerance of sinful actions and attitudes was actually an example of His holy-love. He would be less than loving were He not intolerant of the sinful and deviant behaviors and attitudes that are contrary to our God’s redemptive plan of deliverance from actions that are destructive and hinders one from being what God desires one to be.

Jesus was not tolerant of “other ways” that claimed they would lead to acceptance with the Holy-Father. He stated, “I am the way, and the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father but by me” (John 14:6). Christ further stated all who try to come to the Father another way other than through the Doorway of Him would meet with failure (John 10). Those are  intolerant and exclusionary statements, for Jesus is claiming that His life and His work on the cross is the only way to acceptance before the Father. Jesus claimed, to the exclusion of other religions, He alone has dealt with the sin-debt humanity owes a holy God.

Jesus was intolerant when he said, “Except a man be born again (born from above by the Spirit), he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). That is an exclusionary statement, because it excludes one’s works as having a part in gaining entrance into the kingdom of God.

Jesus was intolerant of those who would not believe that He was the Son of God, the promised Messiah, the God-Man. Jesus said to the rejecting Jews, “I said therefore unto you, that you shall die in your sins; for if you believe not that I am He, you shall die in your sins” (8:24). That doesn’t sound like the words of One who was tolerant of “other Christ’s” and tolerant of sinful behavior.

Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14). That is an intolerant and exclusionary statement, for all roads don’t lead to the same place.

Jesus was intolerant, as well, when it came to lack of commitment in His own followers. He stated, “If any man come unto me and hate not his father and mother, and wife and children, and brethren and sisters, yea, his own life also, he cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:26). Wow! Jesus is intolerant of half-hearted discipleship, and is demanding whole-hearted allegiance and commitment. He is intolerant of competing rivals and is demanding Lordship over the Christian’s life.

Yes, Christians may appear intolerant, but embracing the truth that Christ of the Cross is the way, the truth and the life we cannot compromise. Love requires that we be unyielding in regard to the truth of who Christ is and what He teaches in His Word. Truth must never, never compromise with error and that which is contrary to the clear moral teachings of the inspired Word of God.

The mathematician is intolerant when it comes to what 2 plus 2 equals, the artist is intolerant with a misplaced brush stroke, the cancer researcher is intolerant with cancer cells he is seeking to destroy, the gardener is intolerant with weeds, and the Christian must be intolerant with moral and spiritual error when it clearly opposes the Living and Written Word. Love requires that we do so.

Blessings,

Dr. Dan

OUR HOPE AMID BAD NEWS

Have you heard the news lately? None of it is good. ISIS continues its demonic march of evil in the Middle East with its goal to eventually overtake the USA, all the while they laugh at this nation’s feeble efforts to stop them. It is not a matter if there will be another terrorist attack on US soil, it is a matter of when. It matters not that the teachings of Islam underlines the destructive ideology of ISIS, Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Qaeda, etc that want to destroy Israel and the USA, our current leaders tout Islam as a religion of peace and tolerance.  HopeLord

The mysterious D68 respiratory virus attacking children is making its way into one state after the other. Ebola is now on US soil striking fear in people that it will spread. The government refuses to close our borders, allowing all kinds of terrorists and diseases from entering this country. As well, the government refuses to ban flights from landing in the USA that come from areas where Ebola is prominent. Whoever said common sense is common.

God, Christ, the Bible and Christianity continue to be attacked and stripped from society. Like a run-away train man continues to rebel against God’s holiness and moral order. Federal judges continue to mock the definition of traditional marriage as they strike down as unconstitutional states that have democratically voted to ban same-sex marriage. Thanks to liberal judges and courts our country continues to sink deeper and deeper into a cesspool of moral perversion from which there is no return.

Our politicians are more crooked than a barrel of fishhooks and have only one goal – to be reelected. The legalization of marijuana continues its march. Our leaders continue on a track of financial irresponsibility that is leading to a train wreck as they spend a trillion dollars more each year than they take in. Instead of reeling in spending they want to continue to pickpocket more and more of our cash for their reckless spending. Their foggy decisions make me wonder if they aren’t the one’s smoking the stuff!

I need not go on, I think the picture is clear and it is not a pretty one. We are living in times that events and circumstances are causing all of life and creation to cry out like a mother experiencing birth pangs. All the bad news is enough to send one into a state of despair. How does one cope with all the bad news that only seems to get worse?

Amid all the bad news, regardless of whether on a world, national or personal front, I am so grateful that I am a Christian for I possess a glorious hope in Jesus Christ. The Bible reminds me that no matter how bad things get, and it even teaches that in the last days times will grow worse and worse, that I am not to despair for our righteous God is still in control. In spite of man’s rebellious sin it will not prevent God’s intended purpose and goal for creation and individuals – redemption. In the cross we see both the judgment upon sin and the redemptive grace of God in the face of sin. And to those who trust in the Christ of the cross that redemptive process has begun, is ongoing and will one day culminate, as P.T. Forsyth puts it, “in the total establishment of divine holiness within the human race.”

The world sees no rhyme or reason or ultimate goal of creation, it just continues on as before. The cross is proof God is involved in the events and affairs of this world. And though He permits this world, as the result of Him granting man freewill, to proceed on what appears to be an autonomous course, the message of the cross is that the overruling providence of God will direct and defeat man’s evil and His ultimate goal for creation and humanity will not be thwarted by man’s rebellion against His holiness.

The Christian has the hope of “looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). Unbelievers may scoff, but the Christian hope is that the God of all creation reigns and He will one day set up a kingdom that shall stand forever (Daniel 2:44). As we move toward the culmination of God’s glorious goal He gives us His presence, peace, strength, courage, hope, and grace for the journey. I possess in my heart an eternal hope that this life is not all there is, there is hope beyond this life for the Christian and hope for a creation that has been marred by the willful sinfulness of man.

The Cross of Christ is both God’s answer to the problem of human sinfulness and human doubt to God’s goodness. The cross is our assurance that evil will not win at last. At the cross sin was at its worst as it crucified the holy Son of God. While at the cross God’s holy wrath against sin was displayed in all sin’s ugliness, His grace was demonstrated in providing redemption for those who embrace His Son.

Christian friend, don’t despair over the signs of the times. Keep looking up, keep your eye on the sky. The sin of man cannot stop God from achieving His goal of redemption and restoration. The train of God’s Kingdom speeds on to its final destination. Will you climb aboard or will it pass you by?

Embrace Him today and receive and rest in a hope that is a firm anchor and foundation in the midst of the sinking sand around us; a hope that sustains even amidst the flood of bad news.

Blessings,

Dr. Dan

WHY I AM A CHRISTIAN

christianForty-four years ago this week I trusted Christ as my Savior. I realized I had sinned against a holy God, but our Creator God became the Redeemer of humanity in Jesus Christ. He who knew no sin became sin for me that I might become the righteousness of God in Him. Ah, amazing grace!!

Over the last forty-four years I have been asked many times, “Why are you a Christian?” I will answer that question with a story from the days of the Roman Empire.

There was once a wealthy Roman senator who had become most influential in the political arena. He desired that his only son follow him into politics, but his son was not interested in governmental affairs. His son was more interested in living a life without restraint and indulging in behavior that brought heartache and shame to his well known father.

In time the young man left home with his partying companions to live a life of reckless abandonment. For a while he kept in touch with his father, but as time passed their relationship become more and more strained and all contact was discontinued. That broke the father’s heart, but what could he do.

He continued to faithfully serve as a Roman Senator, but he realized as time passed he would not see his wayward son again. As the wealthy senator grew older he decided to change his will, which had stated everything was to go to his only son. Presuming his son was dead, he rewrote the will and left his vast wealth to his trusty servant who had been with him most of his life. However, he made one stipulation in the will, that if his son ever returned he was allowed to choose one thing from his estate.

Not long after revising his will the Senator passed away. A most influential man, word of his passing spread throughout the Roman Empire. Word of his passing eventually made it to the ears of his son. Heartbroken at hearing of his father’s death, he realized how he had wasted his life and had broken his father’s heart. Repentant, he made his way back home. Upon arriving he was told of his father’s change of the will. He was informed his father’s vast wealth was to go to the faithful servant, but he was allowed to choose one thing from his father’s fortune.

His heart raced as he thought to himself, “What shall I choose?” He pondered and he pondered. Then suddenly, like a flash of light, it came to him what should be his choice. Twirling around and pointing at the faithful servant, the son exclaimed, “I will take him.” For the young man realized that wrapped up in the faithful servant was all that his father possessed and to possess the servant was to possess all that belonged to his father.

That story is the answer to “why I am a Christian.” Forty-four years ago my heart cried out, “I will take HIM.”  For I realized that wrapped up in the Faithful Servant, Jesus Christ, is all the Heavenly Father possesses and to possess Christ is to possess all that belongs to the Father!

For in Christ, the Suffering and Faithful Servant, I discover all my heart longs for. In Him I have found forgiveness for all my sins. He, as my Substitute, paid the sin debt I could never pay and His perfect provision on the cross paid in full the debt owed by all humanity. In Him I have found fulfillment and satisfaction. He gives a peace, purpose and satisfaction this world can’t give, a peace that passes all understanding. In Him I find a Friend that sticks by my side no matter what I go through in life. He never leaves me nor forsakes me. In Him I find a strong tower that I can run to in life’s darkest and toughest hour. In Him I find faith for standing when I don’t understand. Faith means I don’t have to have all the answers, but I hold the hand of One is the Answer when I don’t understand. He is the Rock that holds me up in a world of sinking sand. In Him I have a future hope that is sure. This old life will one day cease, but He has promised, “I am the resurrection and the life. He that believes in me shall never die.”

And in the Faithful Servant is found so much more. All that the Father has for us to experience is wrapped up in Him.  As Paul wrote, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). All that the heart longs for is found in Christ. He waits for you to exclaim, “I will take HIM.”

My dear friend, He waits your response. I am so thankful that I responded forty-four years ago to His invitation. The most important words I ever spoke were on that life changing night over four decades ago when I emphatically said, “I will take HIM.”

Blessings,

Dr. Dan

THE INCOMPARABLE CHRIST

This week I read an article by someone who claimed that Jesus Christ was a myth and probably never even existed. Such delusional writing must be dismissed as rubbish and historically inaccurate. Jesus was not only a historical person, there is no one who ever lived before Him or after Him who compares. He is the Incomparable One. Incomparable-Christ

In the book of Revelation Jesus makes this astounding claim, ” I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8). What an amazing and remarkable statement by Jesus. The alpha and omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. From the alphabet we make words, and Jesus Christ, who is the living Word of God, is God’s full revelation and communication to humanity. He is the only alphabet we need to reach the Father. If you and I are going to reach our Holy God, we must go through Jesus Christ, the Alpha and Omega.  He is the Incomparable One.

An examination of Scripture clearly reveals Jesus Christ is our all in all; He is the all sufficient One; He is the Incomparable One.

A – Advocate (I John 2:1). “And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” Jesus alone is qualified to plead the case of sinful man before the Holy Father.

B – Burden Bearer (I Peter 5:7). “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”

C – Crucified Lord of Glory (I Corinthians 2:8). Jesus was more than a mere man dying on the cross, He was the “crucified Lord of glory” giving Himself for you and I.

D – Desire of all nations (Haggai (2:7). All that humanity seeks after and longs for is found in Christ who is “the desire of all nations.”

E – Emmanuel (Matthew 1:23). The One conceived in the Womb of a Virgin was more than a babe, but “they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”

F – Faithful Witness (Revelation 1:5). “Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness,” is One we can trust unreservedly His every word and way.

G – Gift of God (John 3:16; 4:10). To the Samaritan woman Jesus revealed Himself as the “gift of God” and to Nicodemus He spoke the eternal words of Good News, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

H – High Priest (Hebrews 4:14). Jesus, as our “great high priest,” not only offered the Sacrifice for our sins, He was the Sacrifice.

I – Intercessor (Hebrews 7:25; Romans 8:34). Jesus “ever liveth to make intercession” for us. He is “at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.”

J – Justifier (Romans 3:26). Job asked, “How can a man be just with God” (Job 25:40)? Paul declares that He is “the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”

K – Kings of Kings (Revelation 17:14; 19:16). Kings come and kings go, but Jesus, as the “King of Kings” has had more declare allegiance to Him than all kings of all the ages combined. And when all is said and done He will be only King standing victorious.

L – Lamb of God (John 1:29). As Jesus came walking down the dusty road toward the Jordan River John the Baptist proclaimed, “Behold, the Lamb of God which cometh to take away the sin of the World.”

M – Messiah (John 1:41). Jesus fulfilled perfectly every Old Testament messianic prophecy that spoke of the Messiah’s coming. The words of Andrew echo down through the ages, “We have found the Messiah.”

N – Never changes (Hebrews 13:8). “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever.”

O – Omniscient One (John 1:48). Just as Jesus told Nathanael, “When you where under the fig tree, I saw thee,” He, as well, sees and knows our every situation.

P – Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). As the “Prince of Peace” He alone can bring peace to our troubled hearts in turbulent times.

Q – Qualified One (II Corinthians 5:21). Jesus lived without sin and “knew no sin” which makes Him the Qualified One “to be made sin for us..that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

R – Risen from the Dead (Mark 16:6; Revelation 1:18). The angel proclaimed to the women who searched in vain for Him at the borrowed tomb, “Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.” And two thousand years after the proclamation of the angel, Jesus assures us, “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen.”

S – Savior (Matthew 1:21). And Mary called “his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.”

T – Truth (John 14:6). Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man comes to the Father but by me.”

U – Unfailing Love (Psalm 119:41; Mark 10:21; John 11:5; Romans 5:8). His love is unfailing and He demonstrated unfailing “love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

V – Vine (John 15:5). “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”

W – Word (John 1:1-3). Christ as the Word is the eternal expression of God, our Creator becoming a Man and dwelling among us and “all things were made by him and without him was not anything made that was made.”

X – eXalted One (Philippians 2:8-11) Because Christ “became obedient unto death, even death of the cross, For this reason also, God highly eXalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Y – Yoke (Matthew 11:28-29). To the weary Jesus issues a timeless invitation, “Come unto Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Z – Zion’s King (Psalm 149:2; Zechariah 9:9). “Let the people of Zion be glad in their King.” We can rejoice and “Zion; shout…behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation.”

What a Savior we have! He is the All-Sufficient One…and more!! “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3).

Yes, truly Christ is the Incomparable One.

Blessings,

Dr. Dan

A HERO LIKE NONE OTHER

I have always been a John Wayne fan. My father was a John Wayne fan. The man was an American hero. He was and is an icon. When he came on TV you stopped everything to watch this giant of a man “whoop-up-on” the bad guys. Heroes like John Wayne, though, aren’t supposed to die in real life and certainly not in a movie.JohnWayne

Over the weekend I watched again Wayne’s last movie, “The Shootist” (1976). Wayne plays an aging gunfighter named John Bernard Books who discovers he has cancer. Not wanting to experience the agony of a prolonged and painful death, he plans his own death. In his final two months he carefully plots out his final gun battle that will allow him to settle scores with a few old enemies, while at the same time finds him dying in his “trade” of a notorious shootist or a gunfighter.

Wayne’s final gunfight always brings me to the edge of my seat. Every time I watch “Shootist” I expect a different outcome, but it always ends the same. While he “gets” all the bad guys, he himself is killed just as he planned it. My eyes always become moist when I see the young lad, played by Ron Howard, who idolized the gunfighter, cover the face of the deceased Books with a coat. Heroes aren’t supposed to die, and especially not John Wayne.

We are living in a day when there is a lack of heroes. Heroes are seemingly vanishing from the American landscape. Ones we label as fitting the bill quickly come and go. Others appear for awhile then sink beneath the waves of moral failure and scandal. Where can I find a true hero in the hour in which we live?Jesus_Christ1

Found in the pages of the Bible I find a Hero who came and did battle with sin, death and the devil. Jesus left heaven’s glory, took on the form of a man, and went toe to toe with everything life and the Evil One could throw at Him. Nailed to the cross it looked as if evil and death had won. However, on the third day heaven’s Hero arose from the grave like the Mighty Champion He is. His victory was not just for Himself but was for all who embrace Him as their Hero. By faith in Him His victory becomes my victory; our victory!

Because my Hero, Jesus Christ, overcame sin, death, and the devil we, too, can. He shares His triumph with us. I find in Christ an eternal Hero. He will never let me down, nor will death ever rob Him from me. Do you know Him today? If not, look to Him now. He is all the Hero you will ever need.

Blessings,

Dr. Dan.

WATER OUT OF THE ROCK

I do my early morning runs at the Elkin Park. The rock-dust mile oval is convenient, but can get monotonous at times. The park now has opened a new trail that runs along the Elk Creek with a bridge built over the creek and continues on for about a mile on a freshly laid rock-dust path. The new path cut through the woods along the babbling waters of the creek makes for a scenic and relaxing run.

As I was running the other day I noticed along the new path was a picturesque sight I captured with my cell phone.  Passing a rock-faced hill I noticed in the middle of the barren, dry and lifeless rocks there was water trickling out and around the water’s outlet was gwateroutrock 009reenery. Even amidst the deadness of the rocks there was life giving waters providing, producing and sustaining life.

I paused to reflect upon what I was seeing. My mind traveled back in time to the plight of the Israelites as they made their way through the dry desert toward the Promise Land (Exodus 17:1-5; Is. 48:21). They grew thirsty on the dusty path they were traveling and cried out to Moses for water. Moses, at the command of the Lord, struck a Rock in the dry and barren desert and water began to gush out to quench the thirst of the people. Paul tells us that the Rock was a picture of what Christ came to do for us (I Cor. 10:4).

As we travel the dusty roads of this life, in the midst of the parched and waterless circumstances that at times visit us all, as we pass the barren and lifeless rocks that sometimes surround us — in the midst of it all there is a ROCK who provides for us life-giving Water. His name is Jesus Christ. He is not only the Rock, He is the Water out of the Rock. His water provides just what we need.wateroutrock 010

First, His water out of the Rock provides salvation for the weary sinner. We have all sinned and come short of the glory of God, but in Christ the waters of His grace can wash away our vilest sins. The religions of this world are like barren rocks that have no life in them, but Christ is the water of life that invites us to not embrace religion but to embrace Him in a life giving relationship. Christ is the only eternal water that flows from amidst the waterless man-made religious rocks of the world, and He alone can wash away our sins.

Second, His water out of the Rock satisfies the longings of the weary soul. People, like the Woman at the Well (John 4), are looking for peace, love, relationship, hope, joy, something to put their confidence in, etc. What the soul of man longs for is found in Christ, for He is the water out of the Rock that can quench the thirst of the weary longings of the soul. Jesus invitingly says to the weary soul, “Whosoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst, but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14).

Third, His water out of the Rock is sufficient in weary situations. Situations and circumstances come into all our lives that drain us and leave us feeling parched in spirit. The water of life found in the Rock of Christ is sufficient to sustain us no matter the situation. When our spirits seem to wilt in the heat of life’s situations, Christ is there with the Water of Life to revive us and keep the “greenery” of our spirits vibrant with life – His life.

Fourth, His water out of the Rock is our strength in the weariness of sickness. If we live long enough all of us will face the foe of sickness and disease. It is inevitable. Sooner or later we will sit in the doctor’s office or talk to him on the phone and listen in stunned silence as he delivers bad news to us. I have been there, I know. Where do we turn for strength as we face an uncertain future? The answer is simple, we draw our strength from the Water out of the Rock. He is there to strengthen us with His life healing waters. And thankfully, His water supply never runs dry.

Fifth, His water out of the Rock will eventually be our Stream that carries us away from the weariness of life’s struggles. The Psalmist says that when Moses “smote the rock, that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed” (Ps. 78:20). Will the swelling stream of life eventually carry us away from the struggles of this life? Unless the Lord returns we will all find ourselves sailing upon the stream of life until it merges into eternity. The question is, will we be sucked downward by the undertow of death’s swelling tide or will we find ourselves docking safely upon heaven’s eternal shores where the struggles of life will be ended? The answer to that question depends on whether or not we are drinking from the eternal water that flows from the Rock.

Yes, Christ alone is the life-giving water that flows out of the rocky hillsides of this world. He beckons us to come to Him and drink (John 7:37). As you and I walk the dusty paths of this life, as we are confronted with the rocky barren hillsides that seem to wall us in, just remember that One greater than Moses has provided for us a Rock from which flows an endless supply of heavenly water that is available for us in every situation and circumstance we encounter in life.

Blessings,

Dr. Dan