Saturday, April 23, 2011

He Is Risen! - Easter 2011 Meditation

This Easter, what is it? Some say it is the most holy day of the year. Others say it is one of the holy days on the church calendar. Still others say it is a secular holiday commemorating the arrival of Spring. Some Christians refuse to celebrate Easter because they believe it is associated with a Greek goddess of fertility rite celebrated by the Romans and adapted by the church in error. Whatever it is, it is important because it has such a wide influence throughout the world. Is that influence good? Yes, I think it is. On this day, the world is reminded that the Son of God died for the sin of the world, even if the world doesn’t quite get it.

This year, I am struck by the power of Easter — the power of the resurrection itself. The stone was rolled away from the tomb, not so that our Lord could get out — clearly solid walls could no longer contain him — but so his disciples could see in and know that he had risen from the dead. That was a big stone that had to be rolled away, and there was no man who could do it. Then, there is the power of the resurrection of Jesus within the tomb. That was the same power that moved over the chaos of the void before creation when God spoke and the worlds were created.

Think about this. At the creation, everything happened because God spoke a word. Did God speak at the resurrection? Did he, like Jesus at the raising of Lazarus, say, “Jesus, come forth?” But Jesus is the Word. John tells us that all that was created was created through him, the Word. So think about this: Jesus, the Word, spoke his resurrection into being before he died as he told his disciples that on the third day he would be raised from the dead. He had already spoken the Word of his resurrection before he died on the cross.

This Easter, our nation is faced with some mighty challenges. Our government is spending more than it has. Our leaders seem incapable of figuring out a solution. The price of gasoline is rising. Thousands of people have lost their jobs and homes. The government we have been depending on is running out of answers. People are getting worried about their future. Hope does not burn brightly in their breasts this Easter morning.

But we need not fear. Read Psalm 91:
5 You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
8 You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.

The power of God is able to deliver us from this mess we find ourselves in. Has man ever made such a mess of things that God could not untangle it? No, and man never will, because man is simply not smart enough, powerful enough, or clever enough.

Starting sometime early in the 20th Century, Europeans and Americans began to think they had found a better way of doing things. The old, traditional ways simply would no longer serve the needs of the modern 20th Century world. So, as humankind is wont to do, they decided they could build a better world than the one God built and the one He maintained for their enjoyment. They reasoned among themselves that, in their view, everything was subject to change. Therefore, change must be an immutable law of sorts that they needed to harness for their own purposes. Then they decided that absolute truth, the kind God dispenses, was an obstaccle to this new-found change principle, so they would need an alternative. Moral relativism was their solution. This led them to turn everything upside down, calling what had been passe and of no more benefit. They threw out centuries of understanding and reliance on the beneficence of their Creator and replaced it with the beneficence of the State, which, of course, they controlled.

In the words of Stan Laurel “Well, here's another nice mess you've gotten me into!” The problem is we have gotten ourselves in this mess by abandoning the truth for a lie. We have reached a point where now, finally, we are beginning to see that politicians are not to be trusted. If the polls are to be believed, the American people have become very distrustful of government and those who run it. Good! But what are they putting in the place of government as the object of their trust? Certainly not God. Church attendance is down. Religion, especially Christianity, is waning as influence over the morals of the nation.

The answer is right there in front of us. It is Easter! The resurrection power of Jesus Christ to resurrect us from our miserable attempts to become our own gods and rule our own lives. As Jeremiah writes in Jer. 10:23, “O LORD, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps. “ We need God to direct our path, to show us the way out of the mess we are in. We have no power in ourselves that we should be gods. We are weak compared to the power of the creation, much less the power of the one who created it.

Have you ever stood in the surf and felt the awesome power of the water as it rolls in? Have you ever seen the power of a flood as it washes away everything in its path? Or the fury of a forest fire burning out of control? Or felt the earth tremble and shake during an earthquake? Our power, even in the machines and inventions of our most capable geniuses pale into insignificance when compared to the power of nature. And, yet, mankind still keeps believing he can come up with a better plan. How arrogant!

So, this Easter, I am focusing on the Power of Easter. “He is Risen” is a powerful statement, and it is my new power source. No matter what my eyes see in the coming year, I will remember “He is Risen.” No matter how large the challenge, how deep the hole, or how hopeless life appears, I will remember “He is Risen.” No matter what the world may throw at me, I will remember “HE IS RISEN!!!”

May this Easter be a breakthrough time for all of us as we ponder and digest the Power of Easter and as we confess “He is Risen” in our life anew this Easter.

Copyright 2011. By Bill Fisher. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday
A Meditation
By Bill Fisher
Copyright © 2011 by Bill Fisher. All rights reserved.

Today is Good Friday. Courthouses are closed in some places. Some government offices are closed. Some places of business are closed. Why? Here in the United States, a supposedly Christian nation, for those who are off work today, Good Friday has become just another day when they don’t have to go to work. Have we lost our bearings? Do we no longer revere the holy symbols of our faith?

Good Friday is the Friday before Easter Sunday. It is the day the Christian church remembers the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. Did you see the movie? Do you remember what Jesus endured on that day some 2,000 years ago? Does it matter?

If Good Friday is to be a day of remembrance, then certainly it should mean something, or else why have it on the calendar. This day comes at the end of what is called Holy Week, the week leading up to Easter Sunday. During Holy Week pastors of churches all over the world are busy conducting services leading up to the ultimate service on Easter Sunday. By the time they finish the Sunday services, they are typically exhausted. But what about their flocks? Are they exhausted from the weeks devotions? Or, are they simply exhausted from working all week and happy to have the day off on Friday, if they are among the lucky few who actually get to take the day off?

In 1957, according to the Gallup polling firm, 69% of Americans believed that religion was increasing in influence in the United States. That has changed! In Gallup’s December 9, 2010, poll report, 70% of Americans believe that religion is a declining influence in the US. Why the flip-flop? What has happened to cause the change?

Well, a lot has happened since 1957. We have gone through a cultural metamorphosis. We have moved away from the foundational truths that sustained us from the founding of the nation to a more “enlightened” way. Now, we are in a era where moral relativism rules the day. There is no longer any absolute right or wrong. All things are relative. We have morphed into a secular humanistic society in which God is no longer relevant or even welcomed to attend our institutions. We must keep God in our church buildings as much as possible, and, where possible, keep Him out of there, too.

Scripture tells us in Psalm 94:

4 They pour out arrogant words;
all the evildoers are full of boasting.
5 They crush your people, LORD;
they oppress your inheritance.
6 They slay the widow and the foreigner;
they murder the fatherless.
7 They say, “The LORD does not see;
the God of Jacob takes no notice.”

Our society today seems to believe that God is not paying attention, and if He is, He doesn’t care what we are doing. Therefore, God is not having the influence on our society that He once did. After all, God is the one who set out all those obsolete absolute rules and values for men to follow, and, of course, we 21st century geniuses have moved beyond all that. We know what is best for us. And beside that, things change, so we have to be changeable to keep up with the times. There is no place for an unchangeable God. We don’t need that any more. So they say!

So, on this Good Friday, while the world is going about its business as though nothing really happened that matters to them, Christians are following the traditions of their faith and honoring God by remembering the death of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He is the cornerstone the builders of our modern society have rejected while they build their monuments to themselves on the ever shifting sands of moral relativism.

The remnant of the faithful continue to provide the foundations for the world, even when the world pays no attention. The faithful, by the very act of their faithfulness, serve as a redeeming force to show the way for the rest of the world. Today, as the Christian church remembers Good Friday, the act of remembrance serves all mankind, be they atheists, Muslims, Buddhist, or any of the many other religions practiced by people trying to create their own gods. It is the Christian community that holds up the Light that lights the world, and the darkness cannot snuff it out. All Jesus did that day was take away the sin of the world. It is finished!!!

As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.