Archive for February, 2011
I learned a lot about Spiderman this past week. That’s what happens when you are snowbound with your five year old grandson who likes Spiderman toys. I learned that Peter Parker was bitten by a spider and it changed his insides so he got special powers to fight the bad people. So he got a special costume and a new name that shows who he is now. He is stronger and better than he used to be, and he uses his power to help save people in trouble.
And that got me to thinking. When I became a follower of Jesus, my old self changed. I received the Holy Spirit to help me become a new person. Becoming a Christian changed me from the inside out. It gave me a new identity. And it made me more powerful. Because of Jesus, I will overcome the hard things of this life. Evil, sickness, pain, and sorrow no longer have the power to destroy me.
I too get to fight evil by helping people in need. Christians get to be the “hands and feet” of Jesus in this world. I feed the hungry, care for widows and orphans, help the sick, and befriend the lonely. As a Jesus follower, I am able to help alcoholics get sober, sexually immoral people live pure, mean people become sweet, angry people become gentle, and greedy people to become givers.
I help the hopeless to find hope, the unhappy to learn contentment, the restless to experience peace, and the rootless to find purpose. I do this because someone helped me to know new life.
Spiderman is a wonderful story that someone made up. The Jesus story is real. It is true in my life, and it is becoming true in the lives of people all over this world every day. It can be true in your life too. You can become a new person with a life of joy, peace, hope, purpose, and power. You can then help others find this life too.
Most of us have been straightening up around the house at some time and stumbled upon something that we weren’t expecting. Maybe it’s something that we thought was lost or a memento that we’d forgotten about. But few of us have found a 500-year-old mural.
According to the BBC, that’s exactly what happened to Rhodri and Angie Powell of Milverton, England. While renovating their home, they uncovered a 20-foot-high painting of King Henry VIII which was created about 1530. Michael Liversidge, of Bristol University, called the discovery “stunningly exciting and of national importance.” He went on to say that the painting would have been done as an expression of loyalty to the king.
I can’t help but wonder how the mural came to be hidden. Was it a political act by someone who disagreed with the King’s policies? Or was it merely a choice by a later owner with different tastes in wall decor? What would motivate you to cover up such a work of art?
The Bible says that each of us was made in the image of God. That’s a masterpiece beyond compare, yet I find that too many of us spend our lives trying to cover up that image. Rather than seeking to perfect our reflection of God’s image, we look to other patterns, other models for our lives.
With each passing day, I become more convinced that the best thing any of us can do is to work at recovering that lost image within. By seeking God and doing our best to live the way He shows us, we can recover that masterpiece that has gotten buried under layers of lesser things. We can become exactly who we were made to be.
We were made as a tribute to our King. We’re supposed to look like Him. By coming to know Him and doing our best to imitate Him, we can make our lives into something “stunningly exciting.”
I love the way fresh snow looks. Everything is beautiful and clean. Snow can be so intensely white that it causes snow blindness. New snow is so pure, it seems as if I am the first person to ever set foot on this landscape. There are no tracks, no ugly ruts, and no old footprints. Culture is full of references to the beauty, purity, and cleanliness of snow. Snow White. Pure as the driven snow.
My own backyard is magically transformed by new snow. No barren spots show in the yard. Uneven spots are leveled under the blanket of snow. The dog trail is covered over. New. Clean. Pure. Spotless.
Maybe that is why he used the analogy about snow. He was a man who committed adultery with one of his employee’s wives. When she got pregnant, he tried to cover it up by having the husband come home so people would think that was when she got pregnant. When that deceit failed, he had the man posted to a high risk assignment that resulted in his being killed, took the widow as his wife, and tried to make the whole affair respectable.
But he was a man of God. When confronted with the enormity of his failure to live according to his commitment, he was devastated. He begged God to forgive him. He begged God to wash him in order that he would be whiter than snow. Forgiven. Cleansed. Restored. Faithful.
And God did. His name was David and he was one of the great heroes of the people of God. He was a great King, a mighty warrior, and man of faith. He was an adulterer, a murderer, and a hypocrite. Clearly he was a man who could not manage his own life. How could he ever make this right? How could he atone for the horror of his actions, his betrayal of all that he believed? He couldn’t make it right. But God could and did.
Have you ever longed for a new life, for forgiveness from past mistakes, for a clean slate? Have you wanted to start again with a life as clean and as pure as snow? Have you wanted the blackness of your life to be white again?
Jesus can do that for you. He has for me, and he has for people all over this world.
The call went out and he answered it right away, without knowing any of the details. “Send me” were his words. Then he found out what he was to do, tell everyone in the geographic area that calamity and destruction were coming. He then asked how long did he have to do that? Until it all happened!
From a modern perspective, that job description left a lot to be desired. For Isaiah, the Old Testament seer of vision and preacher of woe took years to complete his task. His writings cover 66 chapters almost all focusing on one theme: God is God.
Over and over through Isaiah’s pen Jehovah says: “I am the Lord, that is my Name!” (42:8); “… says the Lord that I am God” (43:12). Declarative statements of power and authority. Foundational basis for the coming of His son Jesus. That may be why Isaiah is the most quoted Old Testament prophet in the New Testament and Jesus himself quotes Isaiah extensively.
The importance and value of knowing that God is God are also in the words of Isaiah:
But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary
They shall walk and not faint (40:31).
So, do you believe God is God? Why? What specific things can you point to or that you have experienced prove to you that God is God?