Data is everything! We solve problems from the examination of mountains of information. Weather forecasters use historical data and couple it with present day to make future predictions. Those who predict human behavior use past data, or behavior patterns to predict future behavior. As the old saying goes, it’s hard for a leopard to change its spots.
As a former professor of statistics, the last half of the semester was spent on inferential statistics, that is using data gathered from samples to infer future results. The larger the sample size the better. And as the number of pieces of data increases and approaches infinity, the more the distribution will approach normality (I couldn’t resist causing a few headaches)! Therefore, using the normal curve as a measure of the population is a pretty sound practice.
We want more data, or more information to guide our daily lives. Politicians say, “I don’t have enough information to form an opinion on this matter.” Nine-year-old boys shrug their shoulders and eloquently state “I don’t know” when they don’t have an answer. Some of you are seeing a comedic correlation here, but we must move on.
Sometimes we make snap judgements before we have all the data. Other times we refuse to take a stance until we have every piece of data available! The disciples of Jesus contained both personality types.
There are two disciples who come to mind from the above statement. Peter, the impetuous one, jumped onto the water to walk to Jesus. He was also the first out of the boat, swimming to shore when they spotted the resurrected Lord.
On the other end of the spectrum we have Thomas, or “Doubting Thomas” as we know him. Thomas was not about to decide without all the data. He definitely wasn’t one for a quick decision.
Did Thomas doubt the Lord had risen? Or did he not have faith in the other disciples after he watched them scatter at Jesus’ arrest? We don’t know the mind of Thomas other than he wanted proof, and he was zealous about it.
Thomas was zealous about a lot of things, but most in his support for Jesus. It was Thomas who said, “let us go so we may die with him!” When Jesus said He needed to go back to Judea, even after a near-stoning, it was Thomas who was not hesitant in his support of Jesus.
So, when Thomas said the only way he would believe was to touch the scars and side of Jesus, he was being his usual non-impetuous self. Thomas had a zealousness Jesus could count on.
Are we zealous in our faith? I mean, do we want more proof to satisfy our own questions, or more information about Jesus to share with the world? We should all have a desire to know our risen Savior better. When we want to know more and get closer to Him, it is hardly doubting but rather desire!
Government should be trusted. After all, appointed officials are sent to represent the people in matters of the state. If they could all be honest, things would run well. But let a few begin to collude together, and then get caught, and trust goes out the window! The payoffs happened, the lies to cover up the ugly truth begin to flow, and more corruption emerges!
If you think I’m alleging this about our present-day governmental leadership you’re mistaken. The government I’m referring to is the one in the nation of Israel over 2,000 years ago. The parties were the Romans, the Pharisees, and the Sadducees.
The people didn’t like the Roman, the Pharisees didn’t like the Romans and disagreed with the Sadducees, and the Sadducees played the political game with the Romans and disagreed with the Pharisees! They might have been the first government to put the “fun” in “dysfunctional!” There were side agreements between the parties, scheming to stay in power, and hiding the truth to keep the Roman “eye” off the territory so Rome wouldn’t come down on the Jewish leaders. They wanted to keep the people of Israel under their power and any dissention was seen as a threat to their posh positions.
Enter Jesus. He was growing in popularity. People began to believe He was the Messiah who was prophesied in the Hebrew scriptures. Their mistake was a belief Jesus was there to set up an earthly kingdom and free the people from the oppressive rule of the Romans, much like God’s delivery of the nation from captivity in Egypt. This rumor was spread far and wide, and the ruling class felt threatened.
So, the Jewish leaders saw Jesus as an enemy, and the old saying in that part of the world is “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” The presence of Jesus forced those parties who were at odds with one another to begin to collude and devise a plan to get rid of this outcast Jesus.
They succeeded, but in doing so created a movement so strong, even a member of the Sanhedrin, Gamaliel voiced to the ruling council, “In this present case I advise you; Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”
Jesus gave up His life for us but rose from the grave. He gave marching orders to His disciples to go make disciples! And to this day, the orders have not changed!! No matter how the government colluded, lied, and paid off guards, God’s plans have never failed.
Praise God this week for letting us be a part of His great plan to bring all of mankind back to Himself. We have our orders! Christ has risen, and it’s time to tell the world!!!
Parents, can you remember the floor on Christmas morning littered with all the opened gifts and torn wrapping paper? Children opened each one in a frenzy, and when all had been unwrapped, they took stock in what they had received. They began to play with each one, asked for batteries (which you purchased ahead of time), and the fun and noise began.
As the time went by, hours turned into days and days turned into a weeks, the excitement of the new gifts began to fade. The tree has been disassembled, the decorations boxed and placed in their spot in the attic, and some if not most of the gifts the kids received are stored in the top of their closets.
So why does something which was once exciting turn into the mundane? These stored gifts may be taken down from their high places and enjoyed every few months. But less and less time is spent enjoying them, and they certainly aren’t as exciting as when the wrapping first was removed.
Is our “born again” experience with Christ like a Christmas gift? Some will say there is no one more exuberant than a brand-new Christian! They want to “show” the world their new gift of eternal life, and boy are they excited. But if we set aside the excitement for a short time, it seems to have diminished the next time we want to share the gift with others. The more time it spends on the shelf, the less we enjoy it when we once again review the inner workings of the gift!
The season of Lent is a time of reflection, repentance, and examination of the gift purchased for us over 2,000 years ago. While it is a somber time, we should no less be excited about the gift of eternal life we have been given.
Let’s walk daily in the assurance this gift we have received is the greatest gift we will ever receive! Knowing this, we should look at every single day here on earth as an opportunity to tell people about the gift given to us from our Heavenly Father, purchased by His Son with a price collectively the world could not even pay.
The grave is empty. Death has been defeated. And we have a place to live forever that is far more amazing than any gift we have or will ever receive. Jesus is alive, and the giver of this gift. Thank Him daily, and walk in excitement, assurance, and love – then be prepared to share all of these with the people you meet!
It is said that at any given time, one-third of the residents of Hot Springs Village are traveling. We travel by car, motorhome, motorcycle, or fly to our destination. The destination may be a national park, a friend’s home, or maybe a second home for those seasonal getaway trips. Wherever it is, we enjoy our travels.
Several years ago, during the heat of the summer, my wife and I took a 6,700-mile motorcycle trip out to the west coast, up the Pacific Coast Highway ending up at Glacier National Park. We stayed in some very nice hotels along the way, some average ones, and even one without air conditioning! Luckily there was an ice-cold river flowing from the Rockies behind us to cool the summer temperatures at night. As exciting as the trip was, and seeing all the beautiful places along the way, it was so very nice to arrive back in our home. There’s nothing like being under your own roof! Like Dorothy said as she clicked her heels together, “There’s no place like home.”
As we approach Holy Week, I’m reminded Jesus was on a journey of several miles with the end coming soon. He had been baptized in the Jordan River, traveled to the northern kingdom to do the majority of His ministry around the Sea of Galilee area, was transfigured, walked on water, healed the blind, the leprous, and even raised the dead on three different occasions. I’m certain Jesus stayed with many friends during His ministry, but never in a place He would call His own. In a response to one gentlemen who said he would follow Jesus wherever He went, Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.” He knew He would have no roof under which to rest His head He could call His own.
How should we treat our life here on earth? Even though we are on our own mission, we still have homes to enjoy, feel safe in, and our own pillows to lay our heads upon. But are they truly our home?
We find our answer in Hebrews 13:14: “For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.” While we may live a very long time here, relatively speaking, it is only for a blink of an eye. Our forever home is waiting for all of us, and it will be beyond our wildest imaginations.
Jesus knew His home was not here, but in Heaven. Yet that did not stop Him from touching lives each and every day for the Father’s kingdom. We are all travelers in this life. Let us touch as many lives as we can on this journey and remember, there’s no place like our forever home!
We are unique. There are some of us who looked very similar to one another. And of course, there are times when you can’t tell twins apart. It is also said somewhere in the world there is a person who is not our twin who looks exactly like us – our “dopple-ganger.” We strive to dress the same, talk the same, and in some cases have similar modes of transportation.
If all this is true, why do we concentrate on the differences? We use our differences in ways that are not flattering to either build ourselves up or to tear another down. Is there a reason we use differences as a negative instead of celebrating them?
As much as we try to look the same, talk the same, gather in clubs to associate with like-minded people, we are all different. If we look at the very building blocks of life, our DNA, we are all different. But I hear you saying, “the normal person can’t look there!” True, but if we can agree on the uniqueness of our DNA, my point is made.
God made us unique, yet we are all the same! Scientists will tell you our DNA is unique to us as individuals. Forensic scientist will back up this claim, as they use DNA to solve crimes in our modern-day era. So, our Creator made us as individuals, or special if you like to think this way.
However, we all look the same! Genesis 1:27 says, “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” If this is so, and there is no argument there is only one true God, we then all look the same!!!!
Here’s my question: how are we seen? To God, we are unique as He created us to be special in our own way to Him. But by the world, all Christians should look the same! You see, we should be so close to our Heavenly Father on a daily basis, it’s hard to see where He stops and we begin!
This week, if we truly are the hands and feet of Christ, and let Him shine through us, we will all look the same to a world who truly needs the love, presence, and grace of our risen Lord in their lives. Let’s all look the same to the world this week!!!!