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How Can I Know God?




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Professor Howdy said...

And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified
Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. 34
Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do."
And they divided His garments and cast lots. 35 And the people stood looking
on. But even the rulers with them sneered, saying, "He saved others; let Him
save Himself if He is the Christ, the chosen of God." 36 The soldiers also
mocked Him, coming and offering Him sour wine, 37 and saying, "If You are
the King of the Jews, save Yourself." 38 And an inscription also was written
over Him in letters of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew: THIS IS THE KING OF THE
JEWS. 39 Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying,
"If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us." 40 But the other, answering,
rebuked him, saying, "Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the
same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of
our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong." 42 Then he said to Jesus,
"Lord, F157 remember me when You come into Your kingdom." 43 And Jesus said
to him, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise."

44 Now it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the
earth until the ninth hour. 45 Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of
the temple was torn in two. 46 And when Jesus had cried out with a loud
voice, He said, "Father, 'into Your hands I commit My spirit.' " Having said
this, He breathed His last. 47 So when the centurion saw what had happened,
he glorified God, saying, "Certainly this was a righteous Man!" 48 And the
whole crowd who came together to that sight, seeing what had been done, beat
their breasts and returned. 49 But all His acquaintances, and the women who
followed Him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.

50 Now behold, there was a man named Joseph, a council member, a good and
just man. 51 He had not consented to their decision and deed. He was from
Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who himself was also waiting for the kingdom
of God. 52 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 53 Then
he took it down, wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a tomb that was hewn
out of the rock, where no one had ever lain before. 54 That day was the
Preparation, and the Sabbath drew near. 55 And the women who had come with
Him from Galilee followed after, and they observed the tomb and how His body
was laid. 56 Then they returned and prepared spices and fragrant oils. And
they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment.

Luke 23

Professor Howdy said...

Easter: Celebrating What We Don't Deserve
Lori Borgman

We are a people concerned with getting what we deserve.

We deserve child care, health care, good schools, good jobs, easy commutes
and a comfortable retirement.

We deserve smoke-free air, a strong stock market, happiness in our marriages
and children who always remember our birthdays.

Lobbying groups and professional organizations around the country exist
solely for the purpose of seeing that we get what we deserve. Well, that and
to line their pockets in the process.

When you listen closely, you hear the many things we deserve sprinkled
throughout conversations: We deserve our money’s worth. We deserve to be
treated respectfully. We deserve good customer service.

With all that work at getting what we deserve, it’s no small wonder we also
feel we deserve a vacation.

Kind-hearted as we are, we are not only concerned about getting what we
deserve; we are concerned that others get what they deserve as well. Like
the nutcase on the interstate blasting by at 90, zipping in and out of
traffic, cutting off cars, tailgating. What a pleasure to see red and blue
flashing lights and that Mr. Road Rage has been pulled over by an officer.
He got what he deserved. Or as we like to say, he had it coming.

After a big awards show, or a sports tournament, we debate whether the
winners deserved to win and whether the losers deserved to lose. We have a
keen sense of deservedness.

Last week I deserved a mini-van. Ours is going to the body shop after being
rear-ended. I told the claims agent that since one of their insured took our
mini-van out, it seemed that we deserved a mini-van for a rental. She said,
according to state law, all they were required to do was put us in a tuna
fish can with wheels. Hmmpf.

We deserve the right to eat and not grow fat, the right to speak, the right
to be heard and the right to have all of our questions promptly answered.

Recently, 12 American tourists on a B'nai B'rith trip to South America were
killed when their bus fell down a mountainside. A reporter asked a rabbi if
he questioned why God allowed such a bad thing to happen. The rabbi
answered, I do not question God for the bad things that happen, just as I do
not question God for the joyful things that happen. What a rare breed. A man
who did not believe he deserved an answer.

It is no small irony that though we often live life pursuing what we may
falsely or rightly believe we deserve, the holiest holiday on the Christian
calendar celebrates not getting what we deserved.

We deserved something all right. Wrath. We richly deserved the penalty for
sin, self-centeredness, arrogance, pride, greed, gluttony, hard hearts, mean
spiritedness and all the rest. But, the thing is, we didn’t get it.

Christ did.

He took what I deserved, every lash, every hit, every piercing. He took what
I had coming. He paid the price I deserved to pay, was crucified, dead and
buried, and on the third day rose again.

They say a good way to distinguish between grace and mercy is to remember
that grace is getting what you DIDN’T have coming, and mercy is NOT getting
what you DID have coming.

Easter is the celebration of mercy.

The next time I open my mouth about something I deserve, may God freeze my
speech mid-air and bring to mind the joy and thanksgiving of not getting
that which I deserved the most of all.

Columnist and speaker Lori Borgman is the author of several books including
Pass the Faith, Please (Waterbrook Press) and All Stressed Up and No Place
to Go (Emmis Books). Comments may be sent to her at lori@loriborgman.com.
Find this article at: http://www.crosswalk.com/spirituallife/1389657/

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