Tuesday, March 22, 2016


                                             photo credit: http://christinalangella.com/wp-content/uploads                                                                            /2014/12/Nail-in-cross-istockphoto.jpg
Who came to welcome Jesus prior to His trial and crucifixion?

The lame now able to walk. The blind now seeing. The woman who hemorrhaged for 12 years, now healed. The once-dead. Former demoniacs. 

Likewise in the crowd: probably quite a number among the five thousand who enjoyed Jesus' value meal springing out of five loaves of bread and two fish; plus the mockers, backsliders, unbelievers; and those who just needed some excitement in their lives.    

They must have all sung "Hosanna!" as Jesus entered Jerusalem. They must have marveled at His miracles and came close to tears as He spoke of the Father's love.  

Yet who among them cried, "Crucify Him!" at His trial, and mocked Him so that the Roman soldiers all the more abused Him? 

"I don't know the man!" Peter answered, as he cursed when asked if he knew the Galilean, Matthew 26:74. 

Peter was His friend, one of those who knew Jesus intimately more than the other disciples. Jesus referred to Peter as having received a revelation from God about who He really was. Peter boldly walked on water with Jesus. Peter saw how his fishing boat almost sank with catch so big when Jesus said to put out his net into the water. Peter cut someone's ear to defend Jesus.

Yet Peter swore he didn't know Jesus. 

At the crucifixion, most of His disciples had dispersed, with only a handful left at the foot of the cross.   

Pretty much like you and me.

How many times have I denied Jesus even when I've boldly declared that I am a Christian? Times when I preferred to lie instead of say the truth, or when I found it more convenient to complain or slander because my amigas were doing it anyway, or held my tongue rather than speak out against a wrong-doing---all because I'd rather please men than God?

We're all sinners, and have fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), no matter how we claim to follow Jesus or how upright and decent we think we are. 

We all needed to be saved from ourselves.    

No wonder Jesus finished His assignment on the cross---where He nailed all our sins, His precious blood covering all our transgressions. 

Psalm 103:11-13---"For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.…"

Jesus, thank you for saving me!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016


"It's pretty easy to be a fan, says James Grogan, Pastor of Eastlake church, Chula Vista. "A fan's investment level is shallow---tuned in now, tuned out any moment now. That's how many people regard Jesus today." 

Come to think of it, some treat Jesus like they're watching a football game. Cheering, clapping, shouting, crying even, as they get all worked up and emotional during worship or prayer times. 

But when the rubber meets the road, so to speak, one almost always caves in to what's pleasurable, easy or "so-me": So instead of zipping your mouth, you complain, slander or curse. Versus patience--- agitation and intolerance. Desiring to be honest, you lie instead. 

What is a fan? Literally, a fan is something used to produce a current of air. A fan is an enthusiastic devotee (as of a sport or a performing art), usually a spectator. 

But Jesus didn't die for all of us so we'd become fans---producing empty air or filling the stadium with glee. 

We need to be Jesus followers, says Pastor Grogan.  

Matthew 4:18-20---Walking along the sea of Galilee, Jesus called Simon and Andrew. "Come follow me and I will make you fishers of men." Immediately, Peter and Andrew left their fishnets and followed Jesus.

It's nice to be on the bleachers. Fans are mostly expected to shout, taunt, make faces, even curse and throw trash at athletes who bungle their throws.

Most so-called believers act similarly---clueless to their own shortcomings and constantly criticizing others for missing the mark.  

But Jesus calls us to come down from our high perch---just like Zacchaeus the tax collector who climbed a sycamore fig tree to wait for Jesus to come by.  

Jesus called out to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” He came down at once and welcomed Jesus gladly (Luke 19:5-6).

Zacchaeus could have remained a spectator.

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How did the other "bleacher-sitters" react? V 7: "All the people saw this and began to mutter, 'He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.'”

Luke further narrates in V 8: "... Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, 'Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.'” Fan turned follower.

Obeying Jesus costs. One may lose family, friends, property, riches, and die to old carnal desires to obey Jesus. 

But following Him makes you a winner! Just like stepping into the shoes of Stephen Curry, Tim Tebow and Manny Pacquiao combined---because you're now on Jesus' team. 

He has never disappointed me, nor will He, you. I will never exchange the life I have in Jesus. It's the best anyone can ask for, ever---in spite of the devil wanting to destroy what Jesus has started in me. 

But see, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13).

If He is for you, who can be against you? (Romans 8:31)