Sunday, March 30, 2014

Set On You

The Lord did not set his heart on you and choose you because you were anything special, it was simply because he loves you and he keeps his promises.  That’s why.  Understand this….the Lord, your God is indeed God.  He’s not like you.  He’s completely faithful and he keeps his word throughout all time and he recklessly lavishes his love on those who love him and listen to, and do, what he instructs us to do. 

Has the Lord “set his heart on you”?  Has he purposed to love you no matter what you do or who you are? I believe his words from Deuteronomy answer that with a resounding YES!  He has set his heart upon you!  Really?  Why would he DO that?

We are in a season that has always confused me.  That spring feeling is in the air, yet it doesn’t quite seem that winter is willing to let go with its icy grip.  Maybe I’m confused because nature seems to be confused.  Come on, make up your mind, is it spring yet?

 What has also puzzled me is the strange way we focus on our religious tradition of celebrating Easter this time of the year.  My childhood Easter experience was a wild jumble of new clothes, fresh haircuts, Easter eggs, a huge dinner which always required ham (wasn’t that considered unclean?), little marshmallow bunnies, and little chocolates filled with snot.  It also appears that this is one of the two times of the year that Americans feel most compelled to show up at church.

How did a season so pivotal to our faith become so….comical?  How did I allow the commercialism of my culture to draw my attention away from the events of history which actually occurred? 

Jesus was really here!  He actually taught, wept, prayed, laughed and had close relationships with many who wrote about their experiences with him.  He really did tick off some really important religious people who wanted him dead, and who eventually succeeded in setting up a mock trial, getting bogus charges to stick, and brutally torturing him to death.

He really died! There were witnesses who declared him dead.  A medical doctor, named Luke, actually recorded his version of Jesus’ death.  John, a follower of Jesus who was there at the cross recorded that blood and water flowed from his side when he was pierced with a spear by a guard who wanted to make sure he was really dead.  John also states “This report is from an eyewitness giving an accurate account…”

Then Jesus really appeared again!  On the third day after he was declared dead!  And once again, Paul records in a letter, in addition to his own followers, there were hundreds of witnesses who saw him all at once.

He truly ascended while they watched! Jesus’ rightful place has been, and always has been, at the right hand of the Father. 40 days after he rose from the tomb he ascended, once again in the presence of witnesses, into the heavens.  Then, 10 days later…

The Holy Spirit really came upon his followers!  This is the greatest message of the Gospel!  We have the very Spirit of Jesus Christ within us when we believe that what actually happened…actually happened.  All we have to do is believe he did it for one reason. 

His heart is set on you.
-Doug Bishop

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