What have we done?

I heard two things today seemingly unrelated.

From a sermon about Gods grace. Hitler killed over 6 million Jews.

From a windows 10 advertisement. Kids born today might cure cancer.

This made me think about What else might a kid born today solve.

Then I thought of another mass murder statistic that I can’t get out of my head. Americans have killed 9 times as many humans as Hitler did. Since 1974 Americans have aborted over 55 million babies. Legally. Safely. Sanely. Im not exaggerating or making it up.

Now the question that haunts me….what would a child that didn’t get to be born today have solved?

Hitler.

America.

Just the numbers.

What have we done?

Here is a phone number for a counseling service for those who need help: 888-456-4673 and their website http://hopeafterabortion.com/

Mr Zerba? I need help

I never actually said those words.

Growing up my mom was very anti-pride and anti-competition. The only thing we could compete and be proud of was our humility.

But seriously I was in the 5th grade before I knew that anyone was watching or caring about my school performance. It was when mom was signing me up for classes in Milton-Freewater Oregon. I don’t remember the question but I think the lady asked if I should be in regular math or advanced math. My mom said “oh Peter has always been at the top of his class” or something like that.

I was? I had been? News to me.

So I was put in the more advanced class. My life would be different now if I had said three words anytime during attending Mr Zerba’s class. The only thing I knew how to do was sign my name and sometimes I didn’t even get that right. 3 words could have saved me.

Recently our public utilities district has been installing a new high voltage line and watching them work on it has taught me a valuable spiritual lesson. The lesson is one that David the shepherd learned. He knew the 3-words that I didn’t say. The lesson was this; giants don’t look as big once they are on the ground. The way I learned this is backwards from how he learned it. I saw the poles on the ground and thought they looked small, then they raised them. Wow! Giants! David saw his giant standing, 9’6″ tall and said the three words. I – need -help.

“1 Samuel 17:23-26 As he was talking with them, Goliath, the Philistine champion from Gath, stepped out from his lines and shouted his usual defiance, and David heard it. Whenever the Israelites saw the man, they all fled from him in great fear. Now the Israelites had been saying, “Do you see how this man keeps coming out? He comes out to defy Israel. The king will give great wealth to the man who kills him. He will also give him his daughter in marriage and will exempt his family from taxes in Israel.” David asked the men standing near him, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”

Later that same day…”1 Samuel 17:38-40 Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them. “I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.” So he took them off. Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine.”

I am inserting or reading between the lines here but I believe that while David was kneeled down picking up the 5 smooth stones, he said the 3 words, “I need help”.

We return to the story, “1 Samuel 17 Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine. David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground. So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him. David ran and stood over him. He took hold of the Philistine’s sword and drew it from the sheath. After he killed him, he cut off his head with the sword. When the Philistines saw that their hero was dead, they turned and ran.”

Whether we know it or not, We all need help. We have a condition called sin. We don’t have to be a career criminal to be bad enough to separate us from God. We just have to be absolutely and completely sinless to be in his presence . The company I work sells high purity chemicals. They are pure down to parts per billion. A grain of impurity in a 6000 gallon tank ruins the whole 6000 gallon batch. God needs us purer than that. Let’s say we do the impossible and a live a day without sinning. But what about all the other days and other sins? Once a sin is committed what are we to do? How do we purify ourselves? We-need-help. God has made a way for us in sending us his one and only son Jesus.

“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Romans 5:6-8

Don’t be like me. Be like David. Say the 3 words. Not to Mr Zerba but the God who created everything and everyone. He loves us and is waiting to run to our aid.

God, I need help. I need You to forgive me. Jesus said he has paid for my sins. Jesus said, it is finished. I need help. Forgive me.

Even If I deny him

The meal was over. Jesus knew what was next. Did he heave a heavy sigh before he said these words?

“Matthew 26:31-35 Then Jesus told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written: “‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.” Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.” “Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same. ”

Was Jesus face stern and angry when he looked at his friend Peter and told him the truth about his bravado? I don’t think so. Why? Because that’s what I would do. Thank God Jesus isn’t just like me.

Jesus is like me in that he is human but he is not like me In That he is also God, his heart is pure, he loves purely and completely.

Mary says my face speaks volumes. My expressions tell what my heart is feeling even if my mouth is saying something different. Jesus’ heart loved his disciples, even the one who would deny even knowing him 3 times in the next several hours.

The truth: “Matthew 26:69-75 Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. “You also were with Jesus of Galilee,” she said. But he denied it before them all. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said. Then he went out to the gateway, where another servant girl saw him and said to the people there, “This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth.” He denied it again, with an oath: “I don’t know the man!” After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, “Surely you are one of them; your accent gives you away.” Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know the man!” Immediately a rooster crowed. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.”

Jesus came to the earth to suffer and die the death that we deserve, that this Peter deserves. He did it because he loves me, he loves us. Even if we’ve denied him.

If you are estranged from God right now, Repent, turn around, 180 degrees and come back to the God who loves you enough to die for you. And then live your life with and for the God who has defeated death by rising from the dead.

If you already know Him and have been restored then can you share your story with one person today?

Tossing in my last dollar

Luke 21

Would I throw in my last dollar? The offering plate is coming around, I have a dollar and nothing else. Do I hang onto to it using it as my security or do I toss it and believe God Will provide?

“1 As he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. 2 He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. 3 “I tell you the truth,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. 4 All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”‘

I don’t know the answer. I don’t really want to be asked the question. Life is changing Im finding I don’t like change. The reason I don’t like change is that I have been trusting in the status quo. I trust in the stability of my surroundings and if they change I become poultry, chicken little. Part of me is thinking “I don’t deserve what I have and God just figured it out”.

Forgive my poor foundations Jesus. Rebuild me, gently.

Another part of me is saying I serve the God who said “let there be light,” and at his word light was created. How can I fear?

There are bigger changes coming and no one knows how soon or how long. The blood moon last night some say is a sign of judgement. Others think it’s was just pretty.

’25 “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. 26 Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. 27 At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”‘

The good news is Jesus is coming back. Will we be ready? Will we be watching and waiting? Will we have received his gift of salvation?

The weight of it all

Luke 22. And so it begins.

The arrest and trial of Jesus. I cringe at what happens as it unfolds. Betrayed with a kiss. Denied by one of his closest friends, deserted by most, (John was there). He was Beaten mocked and ridiculed. The leaders finally ask the question that we all must ask, not to find the answer but to find cause to kill him.

“66 At daybreak the council of the elders of the people, both the chief priests and teachers of the law, met together, and Jesus was led before them. 67 “If you are the Christ, ” they said, “tell us.” Jesus answered, “If I tell you, you will not believe me, 68 and if I asked you, you would not answer. 69 But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God.” 70 They all asked, “Are you then the Son of God?” He replied, “You are right in saying I am.” 71 Then they said, “Why do we need any more testimony? We have heard it from his own lips.”‘

Jesus is the Christ, the one promised who has come and set us free from all our bondage. And yet he is about to die. It had to happen like this and yet I still want to jump into the story and stop it. Don’t beat, whip, spit on and crucify my Jesus! But it has to happen. He has to die so that I can live. He is about to take on the heaviest weight ever carried, he is about to shoulder a wooden cross and as they drive those nails into his hands, hammer blow by hammer blow and into his feet they also nailed all my sins there, all of our sins , everyone, every one. He will die there, on that cross but there is more to the story and I’ve gotten ahead of myself.

Jesus I can’t imagine the pain, I can’t imagine the heart ache of going through all of this. It hurts to think about it. I love you Jesus. Thank you for dying in my place.

Being forgiven

Luke 20

Jesus is in Jerusalem. The struggle between the powers that be and the established order of things and the new covenant that Jesus is ushering in is growing. Jesus knew what was coming and he did it anyway.

“9 He went on to tell the people this parable: “A man planted a vineyard, rented it to some farmers and went away for a long time. 10 At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants so they would give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 11 He sent another servant, but that one also they beat and treated shamefully and sent away empty-handed. 12 He sent still a third, and they wounded him and threw him out. 13 “Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my son, whom I love; perhaps they will respect him.’ 14 “But when the tenants saw him, they talked the matter over. ‘This is the heir,’ they said. ‘Let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ 15 So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. “What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? 16 He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others.” When the people heard this, they said, “May this never be!” 17 Jesus looked directly at them and asked, “Then what is the meaning of that which is written: ” ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone ‘ ? 18 Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed.” 19 The teachers of the law and the chief priests looked for a way to arrest him immediately, because they knew he had spoken this parable against them. But they were afraid of the people.”

There is a certain amount of satisfaction in fixing broken things. Finding something that doesn’t work the way it was designed to work and making it it work again. It’s thrilling. Restoring. That’s what God does in and for us.

Sin cannot be undone. Like ringing a bell or saying a word or doing a deed if we do something or say something that is wrong or hurtful or sinful we can never undo it. We can apologize and make amends but we can never undo what was done. We can’t fix it. But we can forgive and be forgiven. All our sins are not only against people. Our sins are also against God. The best we can hope for and best possible thing that can happen is that we repent, turn around, stop going our own way which is walking away from God and our other broken relationships and ask to be forgiven. It doesn’t undo anything. It isn’t magic, it is real. When we repent and ask to be forgiven we are really and truly forgiven. By God anyway. People can be a different story.

This doesn’t have much to do with what I read in this chapter but it has a lot to do with my life right now.

Please pray for Mary and I. It feels like there are changes coming. I know my hours are being cut. That is going to be really difficult and it might lead to other big changes. We just want to do what is right and good and the will of God.

The Christian life is simple but it’s not easy. Forgive as we have been forgiven. Trust in a God we cannot see. Believe promises spoken thousands of years ago. Continue to believe that Jesus death covers all my sins.

I still do.

The blood of the lamb

Setting slaves free. God is good at that. He did it for Israel when they were enslaved by the Egyptians.

It was a horrible night of death in the land. The first born of every household, animals and people would die.

Exodus 12:12-13 “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.”

The blood refers to the blood of a lamb, a spotless blemish free lamb, that was sacrificed. It’s blood painted on the doorposts and lentil.

Exodus 12:5-7 “The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs.”

This activity was to be done by the Israelites every year to remember what God had done back in Egypt to set them free.

This meal is what Jesus was taking part in when we read Matthew 26.

Jesus then interprets what the meal was a symbol of. The meal, the sacrifice of the lamb, the blood, it was all a picture of Jesus. The slavery he was setting us free from wasn’t a human earthly master, it was from sin and death. Jesus came to set us free from our rebellion from God and the consequences of that rebellion; separation, death.

“Matthew 26:17-19, 26-30 On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?” He replied, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.’” So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover. ”

“While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the (new) covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. ”

The Passover meal was very real and very important but it pointed to something and someone even more important, Jesus.

Paul says in his letter to Believers in Rome, “Romans 6:8-10 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.”

Jesus has set us free from sin and death, if we accept his substitution for our payment. Today would be good day to start a new relationship with Jesus.