Thursday, April 30, 2015

How Far Did Jesus Descend?

Chuckle: From Missoula, Mont. My son, who is in nursery school, said, "Our Father who art in Heaven, how didja know my name?"
Quote: "The Cross is a picture of violence, yet the key to peace, a picture of suffering, yet the key to healing, a picture of death, yet the key to life." --David Watson
    "Who, (Jesus) being in very nature God, did no consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death -- even death on the cross! "  (Philippians 2:6-8 NIV).
There is so much that we can't fully understand about Jesus' leaving His heavenly glory to secure our salvation here on earth. He descended from the highest level in heaven to the lowest level of earth when He became a man and lived among us. He also allowed Himself to be treated as even less than a man as He was tortured and killed as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins.
Just imagine, God Himself, the King of the Universe, the Creator of all things, descended from the highest pinnacle of heaven to the lowest depths of sin and depravation on earth for you and me. It's difficult for us to comprehend the spiritual and physical agony our Lord endured on our behalf. Perhaps worst of all was that "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us" (1 Corinthians 5:21 NIV). He that knew no sin became sin and thereby was out of fellowship with His Father as He was rejected and died alone in agony and disgrace. We get a glimpse of the anguish Jesus suffered when as He cried out from the cross: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46 NIV).
I believe these words from King David reveal to us much about the inner thoughts Jesus must have had as He hung on the cross and endured the pain and ridicule of men while paying the terrible price for our redemption. "But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by men and despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads: "He trusts in the Lord; let the Lord rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him" (Psalm 22:6-8 NIV).
It's impossible for us to fully comprehend how far Jesus descended to purchase your salvation and mine. But after contemplating the dimensions of God's love and the extent of His sacrifice for us, the question arises: How willing am I to show my gratitude and love by bringing Him glory and by giving of myself to further the growth of His kingdom in the hearts of people? "Amazing love how can it be that you my King would die for me?"
Love, Jerry & Dotse

Friday, April 24, 2015

Healthy Bodies

Chuckle: "A successful diet is the triumph of mind over platter."
Quote: "When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive - to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love." --Marcus Aurelius
    "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your body" (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV).
According to the CDC, two major health problems in the United States are growing and growing rapidly -- obesity and accompanying diabetes. There are exceptions of course, but the rapid increase in these two conditions is largely the result of unhealthy lifestyles including over-eating and lack of exercise. The CDC estimates that 70 percent of Americans are over weight or obese.
In our society, I'm afraid eating has become and end unto itself for many of us rather than a means to an end. Food should be the necessary fuel that keeps our bodies healthy and functioning properly. However, many of us eat for pleasure, not because we are really hungry but because we just like to eat. All too often we eat much more of the wrong foods than we need for health, work, and recreation. Getting people to adopt healthy diets and get more exercise are urgent challenges facing our society.
Let me tell you a success story from a few years back. The CDC had declared Huntington, West Virginia the fattest city in the United States. The pastor of the nearby First Baptist Church of Kenova decided to preach a sermon on the physical and spiritual dangers of obesity, and that sermon began a process that resulted in the ABC hit mini-series, Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution. The series was released March 21, 2010.
To make a long story short, the congregation received the pastor's message with enthusiasm, started several healthy eating and exercise programs, became the catalyst for healthier foods in their local schools, and their success has had impact across this country and around the world through the television series. According to the pastor, "collectively our people have literally lost more than 2000 pounds (a ton) and feel much better spiritually and physically."
Christians should have a special motivation for taking care of our bodies, which the Scripture says are temples of the Holy Spirit who resides within us. How can we serve and honor God when we are so overweight and out of shape that our activities for Him are severely curtailed. Jesus said, "love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and your neighbor as yourself." Pastor Willis of First Baptist Church of Kenova said this, "We cannot love God with all our strength if we do not take care of our bodies, nor can we love our neighbor with total effectiveness if we have perpetual self-induced health issues."
There are many unhealthy activities that do harm to our bodies. If we indulge, each of us must decide if we are "honoring God with our bodies."
Love, Jerry & Dotse