Posts Tagged ‘Christ’

My King

Today is Good Friday. Hard to imagine good in so much suffering. However, in His death, He crushes our sin. That’s Good News.

Isaiah 531 Who has believed our messageand to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,and like a root out of dry ground.He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.3 He was despised and rejected by men,a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.Like one from whom men hide their faceshe was despised, and we esteemed him not.4 Surely he took up our infirmitiesand carried our sorrows,yet we considered him stricken by God,smitten by him, and afflicted.5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,he was crushed for our iniquities;the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,and by his wounds we are healed.6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,each of us has turned to his own way;and the LORD has laid on himthe iniquity of us all.7 He was oppressed and afflicted,yet he did not open his mouth;he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,and as a sheep before her shearers is silent,so he did not open his mouth.8 By oppression[a] and judgment he was taken away.And who can speak of his descendants?For he was cut off from the land of the living;for the transgression of my people he was stricken.[b]9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,and with the rich in his death,though he had done no violence,nor was any deceit in his mouth.10 Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,and though the LORD makes[c] his life a guilt offering,he will see his offspring and prolong his days,and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.11 After the suffering of his soul,he will see the light of life[d] and be satisfied[e];by his knowledge[f] my righteous servant will justify many,and he will bear their iniquities.12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,[g]and he will divide the spoils with the strong,[h]because he poured out his life unto death,and was numbered with the transgressors.For he bore the sin of many,and made intercession for the transgressors.

Peace.johno~the above image is an original painting I made for the Renovatus church. Combined in this painting are images from Jerusalem, Dominican Republic, and Arizonia and an image of my faceif you would like to see a full resolution, CLICK HERE.

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Lead, read or get out of the way.

I’ve always felt like a leader, but… the weight of just following or doing nothing drags me down to the pace of a snail… I would really rather watch TV and I hate that. So what makes a good leader? How do you fight against the drag that keeps you down and out?Charlie “Tremendous” Jones says, “You are the same today that you are going to be in five years from now except for two things: the people with whom you associate with and the books you read.” He also says, “Readers are leaders.”So I began to wonder… how have I changed in the past five years? What books have I read and what kind of people have I met?I can’t think of a bigger insult in life than attending my twenty-year class reunion and hear from my old classmates, “JOHNO! You haven’t changed a bit.” Would that depress you? Sure, I want the same heart and spirit, but I hope I’m a different person than the one I was in High School. I want to hear, “I knew you could do this.” or “I’m glad you followed your heart.” Perhaps that’s why I didn’t go to my twenty-year class reunion.I admit I’m better at the “meeting people” thing than I am at the “reading” thing, but I try. I have several books stacked next to me, as I type this post, that are unread. “Safely Home,” by Randy Alcorn, “From Eternity to Here,” by Frank Viola, (Thanks Jerry) and Donald Miller’s book, “Through Painted Deserts.” I can image that each one of these books holds incredible wonders that could shape or change my life. I believe this, since I’ve read several books from all these authors before. Each one has challenged me to rethink, imagine and grow in my understanding of life and things around me.Each of the books I’ve read, outside of “Schindler’s List,” (which was a better movie than it was a book), have helped carry me through the story of my life, I am reshaped by the words these writers form. I am crafted into a sculpture of art and beauty. Each book I read is like the chisel that crafted the statue of David or Venus… (although I wish I had the statue David’s body… That’s one obvious thing that has changed over the years). Through the books I’ve read and the people I’ve met, I am better at the end of each day. Can you imagine life without written words or people? Neither can I. My best guess is… that would be hell.I believe this is one of the best cases for Christ that is overlooked. Christ came to redeem everyone and to establish a people to be in community with Him and one another. In Christ, those people are known as the “church.” Our very nature our design was to be in community with one another and not alone. Even a hermit carries “great works” of literature or someone else’s, “8 important things you need to know,” survival guide. He doesn’t come to that knowledge alone. We were not meant to be alone.So, what will you read today? Who will you meet? The outcome of these questions will decide on who you and I will be tomorrow. Who will lead and who will get out of the way.Peace.Johno~1/3 of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives.42 percent of college graduates never read another book after college.80 percent of U.S. families did not buy or read a book last year.70 percent of U.S. adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years.(Source: Jerold Jenkins. www.jenkinsgroupinc.com)

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What about all those people who didn’t know God?


Sitting over coffee, which is how I prefer to sit, I was listening to her say to me, “What about all those people long ago who didn’t know about God or Jesus? You know, the Aztecs, Incas? What about the little aboriginal boy in the outback? Are you telling me God is sending them to hell because they worship other gods?”Have you ever been in my seat? How’d you answer? How would you answer? Like a sizzling piece of bacon… might not be the best response.I’ve heard this same question from many my agnostics and atheists friends. It’s as if that question is carved into their thought like every public bathroom wall has carvings of phone numbers begging you to “dial for a good time.” I have to admit it’s a frustrating question for me because it involves people from long ago, that I don’t know and most of them, I’m pretty sure all of them, have been dead for quite a while. I often find it unfair to be placed in a judgment seat that has been reserved for the Creator of everything I know and don’t know.After a sip of coffee, (more like several gulps of coffee, two refills, 53 cries out to the Lord in prayer for help), I said to her, “why are you being so judgmental?” I think I caught her off guard. I believe her questions had been intended that I was the judgmental one.“I’m not Jesus. He is merciful and gracious in ways I can never understand and I find it uncomfortable that you would want me to tell you if these people, that I’ve never met, are in hell. So let’s not talk about them… let’s talk about you and me. Right here. Right now.”This is what we have to work with. Right here… Right now.There’s a story in the bible about Paul, the apostle, who spoke to a group of people that had worshipped lots of idols for a long time. They were from Athens, home of the Clash of the Titans, and among all their idols to their gods, they even had an idol noted to, “an Unknown god.”The following is a portion from the book of Acts chapter 17:22-31 CEV. Paul, starts right there by saying, “I see that you are very religious…” He doesn’t blast them by telling them who’s in and who’s out. He starts by calling them religious and he finishes by saying,

“Since we are God’s children, we must not think that he is like an idol made out of gold or silver or stone. He isn’t like anything that humans have thought up and made. In the past, God forgave all this because people did not know what they were doing. But now he says that everyone everywhere must turn to him. He has set a day when he will judge the world’s people with fairness. And he has chosen the man Jesus to do the judging for him. God has given proof of this to all of us by raising Jesus from death.”

I love how Paul doesn’t get all caught up in the “what about all those people who worshipped our idols?’ fiasco… (interestingly enough, he says God forgave all this because people did not know what they were doing). Rather, he says, “But now…”Since we are God’s children… Right here, right now… you and I are asked to turn to Him.I believe Jesus will judge the world with fairness according to His word… but in all fairness when it comes to judging, let’s not spend our time judging people we’ve never met.Peace.Johno~special thanks to Evolnosaj68 for getting me out of the candy bin and reminding me to blog from the heart. This was not easy to write about. I’m sure there are a lot of opinions on this subject. Let’s just remember that Jesus commanded us to, “Love God and love our neighbors as ourselves.”

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