Friday Coffee with PJ

Today is not just Friday ... it is Good Friday, the day we commemorate the death of God's Son and our savior upon the cross. To mark this day, I thought I would post several quotes about the cross. I encourage you to reflect on these and rejoice that our God so loved us that he sent his one and only son . . . !

“Before we can begin to see the cross as something done for us, we have to see it as something done by us.” (John R.W. Stott)

 "Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  And some of the bystanders, hearing it, said, “This man is calling Elijah.” And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine, and put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink.  But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.”  And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit." (Matthew 27:45-50)

“Life is wasted if we do not grasp the glory of the cross, cherish it for the treasure that it is, and cleave to it as the highest price of every pleasure and the deepest comfort in every pain. What was once foolishness to us—a crucified God—must become our wisdom and our power and our only boast in this world.” (John Piper)

Surely he has borne our griefs
 and carried our sorrows;

yet we esteemed him stricken,
    smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
    and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
    we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.
(Isaiah 53:4-6)

“Only those who are truly aware of their sin can truly cherish grace.”  (C.J. Mahaney)

"But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world." (Galatians 6:14)

“Why is it that the cross has become the symbol of Christianity? It is because at the cross Jesus purchased our redemption and provided a righteousness which we could not ourselves earn.”  (Billy Graham)

"I will put enmity between you and the woman, 
 and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
    and you shall bruise his heel.”
(God to Satan in Genesis 3:15

“The world takes us to a silver screen on which flickering images of passion and romance play, and as we watch, the world says, ‘This is love.’ God takes us to the foot of a tree on which a naked and bloodied man hangs and says, ‘This is love.'”  (Joshua Harris

“Jesus has borne the death penalty on our behalf. Behold the wonder! There He hangs upon the cross! This is the greatest sight you will ever see. Son of God and Son of Man, there He hangs, bearing pains unutterable, the just for the unjust, to bring us to God. Oh, the glory of that sight!”   (Charles Spurgeon)

"For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." (1 Corinthians 1:18)

Praise God that Jesus died ... but that he did not remain in the grave! He is risen ... He is risen indeed! A meaningful Good Friday to you all and a very blessed and happy Easter! 

Thanks for stopping by . . . 

Friday Coffee with PJ

I apologize if you came looking for a morning post today ... it's been a busy week. But, since I am up for coffee at anytime of day (although as I write this I am just finishing up a cup of decaff!), I invite you to join me for a couple of random (and brief) thoughts.

1. If you want to get a better feel for what presidential candidate Donald Trump really believes, here is an interesting and insightful article by Michael Horton as published in Christianity Today (Horton wrote one of the better books I have read of late titled, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World. Well worth the read!

2. I recall reading a story a few years ago about a Tokyo woman who called in the police after a hit man she paid to kill her lover’s wife failed to carry out the job (this is so bizarre, you may want to read that first sentence again!). Apparently this woman had contacted a private detective via the Internet and paid him several thousand dollars to kill her love rival. When he failed to deliver on his end of the agreement, she called the cops! She and the detective are now in jail. The alleged target is safe, but a bit rattled to say the least! This is crazy stuff! But, then again, our world is crazy! This is what happens when men and women walk away from God and insist on living life their own way. When I hear of mixed up, weird situations like this, I will often turn to my wife and say, “Sin sure does complicate lives!” That is one good reason to stay as far away from sin as possible. We all need to hear and heed the following New Testament commands to flee: “Flee from sexual immorality” (1 Corinthians 6:18);  Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry” (1 Corinthians 10:14); “Flee the evil desires of youth” (2 Timothy 2:22). So the next time sin raises its ugly (even though it might not look ugly – it is!) – put your feet in gear and RUN!

3. I just checked the weather forecast for Sunday (which is the first day of spring). Ugh! Every weather outlet I checked is calling for snow in our area! SNOW! Wait a minute. It's spring. It's time for flowers and lawn mowing and birds singing and warm breezes blowing. It is NOT the season for SNOW. Nonetheless, we can expect to see snow flakes falling. Now, I don't anticipate revving up my snow blower. If snow does accumulate, it will most likely be on my lawn and not my driveway (and I don't usually snow blow my lawn!)  And a blanket of snow on my front lawn would be just fine with me (although the poor robins might find pulling worms out of a snow covered lawn a bit problematic!). SO ... "Old Man Winter" gets to huff and puff one final time. But don't worry, April is just around the corner! And what's true of winter's last hurrah ... is also true of evil's last hurrah. This world is pretty messed up today ... but Someone is just around the corner. And when he comes, he will eventually clean up the mess we have made of things and make everything brand new (Revelation 21:4-5). Are you ready to meet him? 

Thanks for stopping by . . . 

Friday Coffee with PJ

It's Friday ... so it's coffee time! Pour yourself a cup of your favorite blend and join me for a couple of random thoughts.

1. It seems like the variouss groundhogs got it right back on Groundhog Day. Most of them predicted an early spring (although how they failed to see their shadows on a bright sunny day is beyond me!). And the weather this week has been downright springish ... if not pushing summerish!  But, it is only mid March. More cold may be on the way. Consider the tweet yesterday of one of my favorite meteorologists, Henry Margusity of Accuweather. He tweeted, "Enjoy the warmth...cold shot coming 18th-23rd which may bring late season snow storm with it in the East!"  Now ... I love Henry. And he is often right on the mark. But not always. And here is one time I hope he is downright WRONG! SO Henry (not to mention every other meteorologist) does not have a 100% accuracy rating. But God does! His Word is something that we can always count on! That's right. Or to put it another way ... I believe that the Scripture, being God’s own Word, written by men carried along by God’s Spirit as they wrote, is of infallible divine authority in all matters upon which it touches: it is to be believed, as God’s instruction, in all that it affirms, obeyed, as God’s command, in all that it requires; embraced, as God’s pledge, in all that it promises. I say I believe this! I just hope that I can live it out! 

2. I saw on my twitter feed yesterday morning a link to an article describing how a woman tried to conceal a 3 year old child in her carry on luggage on an Air France flight from Istanbul to Paris. Her plans were foiled when fellow passengers saw her pull the child out of her carry on. They quickly notified the crew. Upon arriving in Paris, she was arrested by police. Now the why behind this act is not relevant to the point I want to make ... which is this: All of us are like this woman in that we all have baggage. And in that baggage are secrets that we are trying to hide. Now we may, unlike this woman, be successful in hiding "stuff" from others .... even those closest to us. But there is someone from whom we will never be able to hide anything. And that someone is God. This thought should both sober us up and cheer us up. Really? For starters, knowing we cannot hide one little thing from God should sober us up. His never tiring eye is upon us 24/7 ... and it can see where no other eye can see ... and that is the inner recesses of our hearts. So whenever we sin, God knows. And one day every single human being will have to give an account for what we have done with our lives. For those who have never embraced the gospel and made the choice to trust Jesus as Savior and follow him as Lord, this judgement will take place before a great white throne (which is why it is often called the Great White Throne Judgment - Revelation 20:11-15). If you fear you might be judged before this throne, take a moment and check out two ways to live: the choice we all face. If, however, you have made the choice that leads to eternal life, you will still face judgment before the judgment (bema) seat of Christ. The Apostle Paul writes about this judgment in 2 Corinthians 5:10. So knowing we can hide NOTHING from God should be a sobering reality for us all. But it should also bring comfort. Obviously, this is not true for those who have rejected the gospel. But for those of us who have received the good news about Jesus, we are no longer God's enemies, but now we are God's children (Romans 5:10; John 1:12). And as any good parent does, our heavenly Father is keeping an eye on his kids. And that should cheer us up indeed! 

3. It's been a while since I offered an update on my wife, so here is a quick one. On Monday of this week, she had a CAT scan done on her leg (the x-rays of last Friday were inconclusive as to whether the fracture of her femur was fully healing as it should). Wednesday we returned for the results which were mixed. Much of the femur does appear to be healing well. But there is a portion that is not. So .. the next step will be to use a bone stimulator to help promote healing. Jesus put it well when he told us not to worry about tomorrow ... but rather to focus on today (Matthew 6:34). We are more than willing to leave our future in the hands of  God for there is no better hands than his! Thanks for your ongoing prayers! 

Thanks for stopping by . . .

Friday Coffee with PJ

It's Friday .... and its snowing!  I sure hope it is the last snow fall of the season. I am more than ready to enjoy the warmth of a spring breeze rustling my hair and the fragrance of spring flowers tickling my nose (and yes, sometimes making me sneeze). But whether we are in winter or spring ... I enjoy my coffee whatever the season. I hope you to do. So pour yourself a cup of your favorite joe and join me for a couple of random thoughts.

1. I must confess that roller coasters were not really part of my growing up years. It's not that I never went to amusement parks ... in fact ... the year between my freshmen and sophomore year of college, I worked a summer at Hershey Park. One of the perks was free park admission for me and a guest. So opportunities to ride coasters were always available. It was just ... well, lets' just say I began to cluck when ever someone suggested we ride one! But this all changed when I was 25 years old. It was a hot, steamy day in July. At the time, Sharon and I were houseparents at Bethanna Christian Home for children. Our campus was located in Southampton, PA. That particular day began with an early departure from campus. Our nine kids were beside themselves with excitement. We were heading to Great Adventure in Jackson, NJ. Once we arrived, we gave the kids their instructions. We allowed the older kids to venture off on their own ... but they had to pair off and check in at regular intervals. The younger had to ... you guessed it ... stay with either Sharon, me or our assistant houseparent. Little 7 year old Billy got stuck with me. Our day was going along quite well until he expressed a desire to ...ahh ... ride a roller coaster. I did my very best to talk him out of it. But he was determined to ride one (and of course he had his eyes on the biggest one in the park!). Since he could not ride alone, I finally worked up the courage to climb the twenty stories to the roller coaster's platform (well ... it sure seemed like 20 stories - I also do not like heights!). I certainly was not going to allow a 7 year old to think I was some sort of scardy cat (which would not have been far from the truth that day!). Well ... over 30 years later I can look back and chuckle. For not only did I survive the ride, it was the first of many that day and in the years since. My experience with roller coasters makes me wonder how many of us miss out on things simply because we are too afraid to move out of our comfort zone. This applies to not just the "fun" things of life ... but also ministries God calls us to do. Ministry can be messy and therefore uncomfortable. But at the end of the day, getting messy serving others in Jesus' name brings a meaningful soul satisfaction.

2. As I wrote the above about roller coasters, it brought to mind the presidential campaign. This election cycle's campaign, especially on the Republican side, as most certainly been very much like a roller coaster. When Donald Trump threw his hat into the ring, no one took him seriously. That has all changed as he looks poised to win the GOP nomination. As of today, this is certainly not etched in granite, but it sure looks like a strong possibility. People are responding to this in very different ways. Some are very enthusiastic. They find Trump's "telling it like it is" approach refreshing in a day when a number of (definitely not all!) politicians use "political double talk" or "political correctness" whenever they give a speech or press conference. There are others who simply shrug their shoulders ... having checked out of the political process long ago (if they were ever in it to begin with). Others are stomping for a third party if Trump wins the GOP nomination (which would be an ironic twist of history given the GOP began as a third party in 1854). Finally there are those who are threatening a move to Canada if Mr. Trump eventually becomes President Trump.  SOOOO ... how should we as followers of Christ respond to all of this?????

1. Stay engaged in the process. Learn where the different candidates stand on the issues that really matter.
2. Rest in the truth of God's sovereignty. Ultimately God decides who rules and who doesn't (Daniel 2:21).
3. Remember that you are a citizen of God's Kingdom FIRST ... and a citizen of the United States SECOND. I love my country and thank God for the opportunities that I have had simply by being born here in the United States. But I fear that too many Christians get the order of our two-fold citizenship reversed.
4.  Finally, pray for all of the candidates (of both parties). One of them will one day be our president. This last is first!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

Friday Coffee with PJ

Friday morning means COFFEE! (frankly, every morning means coffee for me)! So why not pour yourself a cup of your favorite brew and join m...