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ZMI Family Ministries International > Articles by: Beverly Lussi

He is Risen! No Fooling!

…that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”

1 Corinthians 15:2-3 NASB
This is the first time I can ever recall Easter falling on April 1st – April Fool’s Day. That’s because the last time it happened was 1956 and I wasn’t even a year old. Oh, the great April Fool’s Day jokes we play to see if anyone will be crazy enough to fall for them!

As you celebrate Easter this year, please take time to read the moving accounts of Jesus’s cruel, yet sacrificial death, His humble burial, and His lifegiving resurrection in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  But for today’s dose, I want to point us to the gospel message proclaimed by the apostle Paul found in his first letter to the Corinthians. Many considered his message of the cross to be utter foolishness.  Let’s look at these verses found in 1 Corinthians 1 (NASB, emphasis mine):

Vs. 18 – For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

Vs. 21 – For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.

Vs. 23 – but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness.

Vs. 25 – Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men.

Vs. 27 – But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise.

The Gospel – the Good News of Jesus Christ – looks like foolishness to the world. It appears as Nonsense. Useless. Unnecessary. Stupidity. That’s because the Easter message is about the greatest display of Love that can only be found and experienced in Jesus. He loved us enough – regardless of what we’ve done – to give His life so that we could live forever with Him. We deserve death, but He freely gives us LIFE. It is our choice to accept or refuse His gift.

Proverbs 19:3 states that “the foolishness of man ruins his way, and his heart rages against the Lord.” As Easter approaches, my prayer is that if you do not know the true message of Jesus Christ, you will find and receive it today! God asks that you humbly admit and turn from your wrongdoings, realize you can’t live without Him, and yield your heart and will to Him. Do not let what appears to be foolish keep you from experiencing the greatest gift ever – the gift of eternal life. It will be the wisest and best decision you ever make. No fooling!

[Digging deeper – Isaiah 53; John 3:16; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 15:1-20; Ephesians 2: 4-10; 1 Peter 2:24, 3:18. Please feel free to email me if you have questions about the Good News of Jesus.]

Blessed Resurrection Day,

Beverly<><

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Photo by Beverly Lussi

Hanging On Every Word

“And He was teaching daily in the temple; but the chief priests and the scribes and the leading men among the people were trying to destroy Him, and they could not find anything that they might do, for all the people were hanging on to every word He said.”
 Luke 19:47-48 NASB

Over the past few months, my prayer life has consisted of intense intercession for specific friends and loved ones. They’ve experienced major hardships and sufferings such as becoming a widow before the age of 50; ministry friction due to inappropriate actions; grievous marital issues; and significant health concerns. Truth be known, interceding for others can be heart-wrenching and exhausting.

God’s Word and His presence are my lifeline during such seasons. I find myself like the people in our theme verses for today – hanging on every word that Jesus says. God never fails to speak to me in my times of need. He spotlights nuggets hidden within the verses of the Bible. It’s as if every Scripture or devotional thought I read is centered on what I need for that moment, that day.

However, I wouldn’t find those nuggets if I didn’t spend time in God’s Word. For instance, what nuggets do you see in the Luke passage above? Did you notice that Jesus was teaching daily in the temple? That’s EVERY day – and the people were making time to go and listen to Him. Are you making time for Jesus day after day? Do you hang on to each word He is saying? We can never adequately know how to pray for ourselves or others if we aren’t regularly meeting with Him.

Jesus’ enemies, the ‘religious’ leaders of the day (yes, sad but true), tried to put an end to His life (vs. 47). But they couldn’t. Our enemies will try to destroy us to get at God. But they can’t. His words are inextinguishable. His words are truth. His words are powerful. His words are Life! Do you know them?

Whether you are interceding on someone’s behalf or trudging through your own tough stuff, yearn for God like the deer longs for streams of water (Psalm 42:1). Rise early in the morning to meet with your Lord like the people in Jesus’ day who hurried to the temple first thing in the morning (Luke 21:38). In the distractions of life, be like Mary – stop, sit at Jesus’ feet, and listen to Him (Luke 10:39). Hang on to His every word. He has so much to tell you.

[Digging deeper – Psalms 77:11-12, 119:131; Luke 17:21; John 8:2]

Longing for Him,

Beverly <><

 

 

Photo Credit: by Beverly Lussi

Watch Out for Hidden Quills

“For nothing is hidden that will not become evident, nor anything secret that will not be known and come to light.”
Luke 8:17 NASB

While living in the small town of Medicine Bow, Wyoming, we were never far from wide open spaces. We had two dogs at the time, Hosanna, a chow-lab mix, and Shadow, a purebred registered Great Pyrenees. Though not a common occurrence, both dogs escaped from our fenced in yard and went missing one afternoon. Fortunately for us, after futile attempts to find them, they returned home a few days later. Their wanderings had left them hungry, filthy dirty, and suffering from a run-in with a porcupine – ouch! Both snouts were pricked with quills, and it was an arduous task removing them.

Several weeks passed and we noticed a bump forming on Hosanna’s nose. You guessed it. A piece of quill had obviously broken off and become imbedded and was working its way out. Eventually, the site festered, and with much effort and apparent discomfort to Hosanna, we were able to remove the culprit.

All too often, just like our pets, we are tempted to drift outside the boundaries God has put in place for our safety. For whatever reason, whether it be willful or ignorant disobedience, we stray from God’s truths. We come face to face with sin, and sometimes it wins. As a loving caretaker, God patiently removes the painful offences when we return and yield to Him.

However, just like porcupine quills, hidden sin can bury itself deep within our hearts. We can ignore it and pretend it isn’t there. Hidden from others, it can easily go undetected – for a while.  But eventually, the ugliness will surface and fester and spew itself from deep within. Don’t be fooled – nothing is ever hidden from God. And He will one day bring it to the light.

King David, a man after God’s own heart, yet familiar with playing with temptation, offers us great hope in Psalm 19:12-13. Look at his declaration to God for help, and let it be your prayer today and always:

“How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults. Keep your servant from deliberate sins! Don’t let them control me. Then I will be free of guilt and      innocent of great sin.” (NLT)

[Digging deeper – Psalm 10:11, 69:5, 139:23-24; Isaiah 29:15; Daniel 2:22; 2 Corinthians 4:2]

Watching and praying,

Beverly <><

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Photo Pl000809 by Jane Schlossberg (https://www.flickr.com/photos/jschlossberg) via freeforcommericialuse.org