What’s your Excuse?

Easter Sunday, my friend leans over the church pew and says,  “I notice you’re alone. Do you have plans today?”

I shake my head.

“Then come to our home for ham dinner.” Her smile is warm like fresh-baked Hot Cross Buns.

“Thank you for the invite. Very thoughtful of you, but….”

“Come. You don’t need to bring a thing.”

“I’ll think about it.”

But a dozen excuses prevents me from accepting her kind invitation.

No doubt….my loss.

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What excuses did people make when Jesus invited them to,“Follow me.”

  • “Permit me to say goodbye to those at home.” Luke 9:61
  • “He became very sad; for he was extremely rich.” Luke 18:23
  • “This is a diffcult statement; who can listen to it.” John 6:60
  • “They loved the approval of men….” John 12:43
  • “He has a demon and is insane. Why do you listen to him?” John 10:20

Pride, unbelief, lovers of money, other people’s opinion, personal safety.

Are the excuses any different today?

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What about when bad things happen to good people?

Is that a valid excuse to not follow Jesus?

Remember Job? God described Job as a “blameless, upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.” And yet, Job suffered the loss of his children, property, health. What made it worse…

God Allowed it

Even so, Job didn’t use his miserable circumstances as an excuse to take his wife’s advice, “Curse God, and die.”

Instead he said, “Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?

Then he later added, “I know that my Redeemer lives, And at the last He will take His stand on the earth.” Job 19:25

I know my Redeemer lives.”

Do you know Job’s Redeemer? Do you know this Man, Jesus who was …

  • Delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God.
  • Nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put to death.”

Do you know that…

  • God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death.
  • Since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power. (Acts 2:23, 24)

Jesus, our Redeemer lives. He’s seated in heaven at the right hand of God.

Some people will hear the Resurrection message on Easter and respond exactly like the men in Athens when they heard Paul declare that God raised Jesus from the dead.  (Acts 17:30-32)

They will sneer!

They will find an excuse to turn down the invitation to believe in the name of Jesus, and follow Him.

But Praise God’s Holy name, there will be others who will hear the same message and say….

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We shall hear you again concerning this.” 

Which person are you?

Is Your Well Dry?

Turn on the kitchen faucet. Not a drop of water.

Discover our well pump gave up the ghost, no longer works. Which means we don’t shower, wash dishes or clothes, water the plants or lawn, or flush toilets.

Have to wait three days to resolve the problem. So we stock up on bottled water to drink and brush our teeth. Pretend we’re camping.

Besides our human needs, my outdoor plants droop beneath a glaring sun. Blades of green grass are fringed with brown in the 98-degree heat.  Squirrels search empty bird baths for a cool drink.

 Psalm 42:1 comes to mind: “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.”

Is that so?

1) Does my soul pant for God? Or is it passive?

2) Do I recognize my spiritual dry spells? Realize its impact?

 Jesus told the Samaritan woman who came to draw water from a well, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water?  

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:10-14)

Like that woman, I’ve been to the well. I drank the Living Water. Was saved, sanctified, and satisfied.

I’m so dependent on the “spring of water” that I can’t imagine my life without Christ any more than I can manage my house without running water.

Even so, how often do I needlessly drag my body through the dry desert, relying on my man-made camel back instead of Christ to satisfy my inner thirst?

Whine and wonder why I’m scraping in the sand for something to quench my thirst, like the raccoon that bit off the head of my underground sprinkler in search of water, instead of going to the well.  

Those were the thoughts dripping in my mind as I waited for the installation of our new pump, followed by my joyful outburst when the cold water flowed like heaven-sent rain from our faucets.

Reminding me, even in this, how grateful I am for Jesus, the Living Water.       

Remember When

Miles and miles of asphalt stretch like black ribbon across the arid land of southern Arizona.

As my vehicle transports me westward through Tucson, memory carries me backwards when I called this city home. Its mountain range was the scenic backdrop during the bulk of my childhood. I dream about it still.

If time wasn’t a factor, I’d spend the day searching for landmarks, hoping my memories remained reality. Is the rope swing still hanging from the tree? Are the neighbors the same? Would Buttons, our black and white cat, be sitting on the backyard fence?

Remembrance brings tears.  Wishing I could travel back in time. Knowing I can’t.

Sweet memories rise like creme to the surface, negating any bad remembrances. But is anything gained by looking at yesterday? Lessons learned? Friendships made? Turning points …

My heart flutters. Jesus Christ became my Lord and Savior when I lived in Tucson. It was here I received my first Bible: a white leather, King James Version, with my name engraved on the front cover. I remember the desire He planted in my twelve-year-old heart to follow Him, know Him.

Not remember?

How could I walk this earthly journey “by faith and not by sight” if I didn’t recall God’s faithfulness during my life?

His Word repeatedly says, “Remember”…

  • The deeds of the LORD and His miracles of long ago” (Psalm 77:11).
  • God is our Rock; that God Most High is our Redeemer” (Psalm 78:35).
  • Life is fleeting” (Psalm 89:47).
  • To obey God’s commands” (Numbers 15:40).
  • Words the Lord Jesus himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive‘ ” (Acts 20:35).
  • Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel…” (2 Tim. 2:8).
  • The poor” (Galatians 2:10).
  • Each other in prayer” (2 Tim. 1:3).
  • Those in prison” (Hebrews 13:3).
  • Your leaders, who spoke the Word of God to you...” (Heb. 13:7).

Plus the multitude of scripture which saysGod remembers.” He remembers His people, His covenant, His promises.

A highway patrol car passes on my left, pulling thoughts back to the moment. New homes and freeway overpasses show the city is expanding. In my mid-teens, I moved away. But Tucson isn’t a ghost town or stuck in the past. It’s progressing, thriving like me after all these years.

And God, the Redeemer who sought a twelve-year-old girl in Tucson, is still leading me on the highway of life.

Jesus Christ, the Alpha and Omega. The beginning and the end. 

That’s something to remember every day.

Remembering Him, even in this……