No Foolin’ Text; Matthew 5:22
Look out! There’s a spider on your back, right next to the bumble bee that just landed on your shoulder. April Fool’s! Yes, today is April 1st and this is the day that practical jokes abound. Today is not a national holiday (sadly no three day weekend for this one), but it is widely recognized in many countries. The holiday dates back to the Middle Ages when New Year's Day was celebrated on March 25th. In some places, New Year's was a week-long holiday ending on April 1. April Fools probably originated because those who celebrated on January 1 made fun of those who celebrated on other dates. Ah, some things never change do they? Seems people still think they are right and everyone else is wrong about oh so many things that really aren’t worth arguing over. The “wrong people” are laughed at by the “right people” and nothing changes because everyone is so sure they are right. Proverbs tells us the way of a fool is right in his own eyes. Some name calling even comes about, even among those who are attempting to follow Christ. You know this is true, no foolin’! Be careful little lips what you speak for Jesus said, but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. Have fun today, but remember bitterness bites and words sting. Love one another.
Choosing Jesus Text; Matthew 27:21
On the day when Jesus was led in front of the governor to be tried there was the possibility of pardon. The governor couldn’t grant freedom to many. He had the authority to pardon only one. Who was Barabbas and why did the people want him set free? Barabbas whose entire name is believed to have been Jesus Barabbas was a murderer sentenced to death. It was only by the grace of God that he was still living as death usually came as soon as the criminal was sentenced. The trial of Jesus of Nazareth took precedence over everything. His accusers wanted Him dead as quickly as possible. Therefore, the execution of Barabbas was put on hold. The name Barabbas means son of a father, which he was, as are all of us, and all of those who called for Christ to be crucified. What if we had of been in the crowd that day? We more than likely would have gone with the crowd who were prompted by religious leaders to call for Barabbas to be pardoned. Barabbas represented all of the sons (and daughters) of earthly fathers as he was set free and Jesus, Son of the Father took his place and died for him and all mankind. What became of Barabbas? Historians don’t know for sure. I believe even though the crowd had not chosen Jesus, Barabbas at some point in his life did. We like Barabbas deserve the punishment that Christ took for each of us, but by the grace of God our lives were spared and we were all given the opportunity to choose Jesus. On this Easter morning thank God that Jesus chose to die for you. Make sure you have chosen Him to be your Savior. Jesus has the authority to pardon many. He died for that right. Choose Jesus Christ who died, rose, and lives forever more.
How to Cast Text; I Peter 5:7
Cast is defined as to throw, hurl, or fling as in to throw away from. The flinging I am speaking of is that of a fishing line. Problem with some of this flinging is that instead of going forth to the intended target of water containing fish waiting to swallow a hook and worm, if you’re not careful it comes right back at you. This was happening a lot at a fishing rodeo for children last weekend. After awhile most of them did figure out how to cast the line away not to. There is an art to casting and practice makes perfect. In the set of rules to follow when casting a fishing line, “Fear not for practice makes perfect” is number one on the list followed by “Get to know the equipment.” Next is “Reel up the bobber until it is four inches from the end of the rod, take a deep breath, then press down firmly on the release button and hold it there. You have just learned to release the line from the reel, the first step in casting.” The list goes on, but learning to release so the line won’t come right back at you seems to be most important. Jesus had a taste for fishing didn’t He? He chose fishermen for followers and chose to serve fish to them on the seashore. As He said, “Come and dine,” they came for they recognized Him and knew He was Jesus risen from the dead. One of those fishermen reminds us to cast all our anxieties on the Lord because He cares for us. So why do you fear? First rule of casting – fear not and get to know Jesus. Take a deep breath, press the release button, and cast your worries on Him. When fear and worries are cast properly they will not return to you.
Ducks Die, Jesus Lives Text; I Peter 1:3
A woman brought her dead duck to the vet’s office. The doctor pulled out his stethoscope and told her the duck was dead. The woman insisted that he do some tests to make sure. The vet rolled his eyes, but brought in a black lab that quickly smelled the duck, shook his head, and walked away. A cat was then carried in. He cautiously approached the duck, sniffed him from head to toe, meowed sadly; and ran out of the room. The vet said, “The duck is definitely dead, here is your bill.” The woman exclaimed, “$150 for what?’ Vet: “My exam was only $20, but the lab test and cat-scan were expensive.” She asked for tests, she paid for tests. Not accepting the obvious truth cost her. Humans do have problems accepting truth when it is as plain as the nose on their face, or in this case as plain as the dead duck on the vet’s exam table. People seem to place hope in dead things that aren’t worth placing any hope in, yet seem to lack hope in the obvious living truth. The obvious living truth is Jesus Christ. He was tried and tested and found without any flaw. Yet He was hung on a cross to die. Three days later when people came into the tomb where Jesus’ body was laid to make sure He was really dead, He wasn’t. He passed every test and lives forever more. He is the hope of the world. Hope placed in any other thing is hopeless. There is a very high price to be paid by all who do not accept the obvious living Truth. Ducks die. Jesus lives.
What Do “They” Believe Over There? Text; Jojn13:34-35
We’ve all been there at one time or another. You know when someone asks, “Where do you go to church?” Hopefully the question is asked because of the life you are living demonstartes that you go, but not asked because you look like you really need to be going. The name of the church where we go isn’t nearly as important as it is for us to be the church wherever we go. The church is not the building, but the people who are being the hands and feet of Christ while awaiting His return. However, many do think of church as a place, not a body, and most “bodies’ do proclaim the name of the church where they “go” if asked. The next question asked is quite often, “What do they believe over there?” The answer varies from person to person. Some say, “Well, you know, the Bible and stuff.” Others go into great detail of every single “Thou shalt not” that their particular denomination may have developed based on absolutely nothing in the Bible. And alas, some do say, “I don’t really know” for they aren’t really a part of they at all. Make sure you do know not necessarily what, but who you believe in when asked. “Jesus Christ” is a great answer. Did you know that in the Bible Jesus gave an “answer” which would make it so that no one would wonder if you believe in Him? There is one “thou shalt” that Jesus commanded and titled a “new commandment” which sometimes is called the eleventh commandment. Jesus told His disciples that they were to love one another as He had loved them. He went on to tell them by loving each other in this way everyone would know that they were His disciples. As disciples, followers of Christ, the love we have for one another should be the unquestionable evidence to the world that we believe in Jesus wherever we go.