Tag Archives: bologna

The Sweetness of the Cross

images8ESYTBYZThen Moses made Israel set out from the Red Sea, and they went into the wilderness of Shur. They went three days in the wilderness and found no water. When they came to Marah, they could not drink the water of Marah because it was bitter; therefore it was named Marah. And the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?”  And he cried to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a log, and he threw it into the water, and the water became sweet.”  (Exodus 15:22-25)

This passage from the Israelites’ wanderings in the wilderness serves as an illustration of the power of the Cross in our daily lives.  In case you haven’t noticed, life seems to offer us a vast array of opportunities to taste rejection, disappointment, hurt, pain, infirmity, misunderstanding, and sorrow.  The fact that the Israelites recognized that the water was impotable — potentially even toxic — was significant!   Often we ignorantly take a deep swig of bitterness and end up experiencing its toxic effects for a long time after the poison has been ingested.   At least they knew the waters were bitter and unsuitable for consumption.

When Moses cried out to the Lord for help, He showed Moses a remedy in the form of a piece of wood.  In the Hebrew, the word is not a log, but rather a tree.  Jesus Christ was crucified on a tree and thereby redeemed us from every curse.  “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written,Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.'”  (Galatians 3:13)   In the Old Testament reference here, the word for tree is the same as the word used for log in the Exodus passage. Just as the tree absorbed the bitterness of the water and made it sweet (safe to drink), the redemption provided by the Cross absorbs the bitterness of our sin and makes life sweet.   The Cross transforms the bitter waters of life’s painful experiences and losses into a door of hope for restoration and redemption. 

Father, teach me how to cast the power of the Cross into every river of pain and loss that I must navigate.  You are more than able to absorb the bitterness of my disappointments and give me in exchange a taste of Your sweet living water.  Remind me to apply the Tree to every trial, in Jesus’ Name, and watch your transforming power at work!

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A Bologna Sandwich or the Bread of Life?

bologna[1]Sometimes I wonder if the Church has fed the world a lot of baloney (properly spelled bologna).  In our efforts to be relevant to the culture in which we live, we have packaged Jesus as if He were just so much lunchmeat.  We have dressed Him up, tried to make Him look cute, and diluted the Gospel.   Sometimes we have even added processed cheese to enhance our presentation of Truth! Although our desire has been to increase our chances of convincing other people that He is real, the paradox seems strangely sickening:   we have developed false packaging to deliver the Truth.   In essence, we have tried to convince unbelievers to swallow a cheap batch of baloney that falls sickeningly short of a full meal deal.  In an increasingly savvy society that demands meat rather than milk and that has a taste for provable facts rather than superficiality, it is odd that we have exchanged the truth of the Bread of Life, the God of More-than-Enough, for powerless Gospel snacks that do not satisfy the spiritual hunger of those around us. 

Indeed, there is nothing CUTE about Jesus.   He is the visible image of the invisible Father (Colossians 1:15), the God who created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1).  He is the judge of the whole earth (Genesis 18:25).  He is the Alpha and the Omega,the beginning and the end, the first and the last (Revelation 22:13).   He holds the keys to death and the grave (Revelation 1:18).  He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29); He is the Bread of Life (John 6:48).   He alone is the Lord, author of salvation, our Redeemer and Savior.  Father, forgive us for trying to package You and market Your glory and goodness.   Forgive us for diluting the power of the Gospel of the cross and resurrection of Your Son Jesus.   Give us Your boldness to express with conviction the truth of Who You are!   Let Your power be made known to the dying world around us.   Teach us how to prepare a full meal deal for those whose hearts You long to win!   Teach us to offer them the true Bread of Life, unmitigated in His power and potency.   Allow a sense of Your power and holiness to rise in us as we communicate Your love to those who long to be introduced to You!

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