Lent Reflection: Don’t be fooled

pretzelroll

I was in my local grocery store recently, and I saw a sign advertising, “this week’s feature … pretzel roll sandwiches.” Now I’m a Delanco Camp enthusiast, so of course to me “pretzel roll sandwich” means a certain thing, foil wrapped pretzeliciousness. Whatever it is that the grocery store is offering is clearly not the real thing. It’s a fake. How do I know that? It’s because I have personal experience with the real thing.

There are a lot of things out there that are fake. Companies are telling us that if we buy their product it will satisfy us, but this is a false promise. We won’t find real satisfaction from buying something. Candidates are telling us that if we vote the right way we will be taken care of, but this is a another false promise, no elected official can protect us from the dangers of life. Our culture tells us that money and prestige bring lasting happiness, but this is false. All those things will be gone soon enough, and while they are here they will just bring people trouble.

The scriptures say:

Blessed is the one
who trusts in the LORD,
who does not look to the proud,
to those who turn aside to false gods.
Many, LORD my God,
are the wonders you have done,
the things you planned for us.
None can compare with you;
were I to speak and tell of your deeds,
they would be too many to declare.
-Psalm 40:4-5

There are two very different ways of understanding this Christmas season. One way is the way of the proud, the way of the false gods of more stuff, more lights, bigger shows, moneymoneymoney, and the joy of excess. The other way is the way of the true God who was born as one of the homeless, and who’s life took him to death row. Many are the wonders he has done. None can compare with him.

If you can have personal experience with the real thing, you won’t be fooled by the fakes.

Dave Brown is a former camper, summer staff member and has served in various administrative and volunteer capacities at the camp for many years. 

Beautiful heartbreak

crucifixion-top-view

I’m going to keep this short and sweet for a reason. I want this to hit you like it hit me.

Think of the God we serve and how absolutely marvelous he is. He sent his only Son to die for us! Looking at Jesus’ life, you see his constant perfection in his battle with the flesh. Looking at his crucifixion you see him brutally nailed to a cross. This beautiful, heart breaking scene is what cleanses us today and what goes over my head so often. You see, growing up in the church, I always hear about the cross and most of the time take it for granted. Are you in the same boat? Read Matthew 27…actually think about it! Pray for more and more understanding because nothing can bring our human minds to grip with how much love and compassion Jesus Christ showed towards a mankind that was backstabbing him then, and is still backstabbing him today. Picture yourself at the foot of the cross, hearing the mockers pass, daring him to save himself when we as Christians knew he could’ve. We are those mockers. Every time we sin, we do it at the foot of that tree that he was nailed on.

The thing that gets me is the fact that even when Jesus was up there on that cross, hearing all of these people, his heart was still breaking for them; and his heart still breaks for us sinners today. Through suffocation, bleeding, and unfathomable suffering his main goal was to please his Father in Heaven by taking the sins of the world. We might as well be one of those mockers walking by the cross that scoffed at the Almighty King when we fall into the trap of sin.

To Jesus be the glory for his amazing life here on earth and to God be the glory for giving such a cruel world a chance to live.

Trust in the Lord

trust

I don’t need to tell you that life is hard. You know it. You live in this world that is mean and cruel, and its wounds for some of you are fresh. But the fact that life is hard is not new. We see in our reading for today that David was in agony, to the point that he even wondered where God was (Psalm 74:1). Ever been there?

In our readings today, God’s Word gives us the antidote to fear, pain, and agony. Trust. But trust in what? Trust in whom? I think it’s so interesting that the nature of the word “trust” leads us to the object of our trust.

Now just reading the word “trust” automatically throws up walls, fear, and hesitation for some of us. But may I gently remind, we’re not talking about trust in just any one. We’re not talking about the trust fall out at the ropes course at Delanco Camp. If we take an honest look at our lives, I’m afraid sometimes God gets the blame for not being trustworthy because of other’s poor choices or our own poor choices that God never intended.

Read again Psalm 55:16-18
But I call to God,
And the LORD saves me.
Evening, morning and noon
I cry out in distress,
And he hears my voice.
He ransoms me unharmed
From the battle waged against me,
Even though many oppose me.

But do we trust God to really save us, to have our best interest in mind? Can I really cast my concerns and worries on Him? (Psalm 55:22) Does He care?

The lies of the devil, the enemy of our souls, are the same today as they were in the Garden of Eden. The enemy said to Eve then the same lies he says to you and me today. “God doesn’t mean what He said.” “God doesn’t have your best interest in mind.” “He’s holding something back from you.” “You can’t trust Him.” And so when Adam and Even believed those lies, sin entered the world and you and me were born with hearts that don’t trust God.

But that’s not the end of the story. We see in John 12:27-36 of God’s love for you and for me. God hated that we were separated from Him. He is widely and passionately in love with you. He took your suffering, your hurts from those who violated your trust, your heart that doesn’t trust Him (which is sin), and in His death and resurrection, Jesus made a way to give each of us a new heart, (if we ask Him), a heart that trusts God. Here is what Jesus says: “Put your trust in the light while you have it, so that you may become children of light.” (John 12:36)

We can’t know the freedom Paul talks about in Philippians 4:1-13 unless we’re willing to trust Jesus 100% – nothing held back. Anything less than 100% is not trust. Anything less than 100% and we can’t experience the life that Christ died for us to have.

Where are the areas in your life where you are not trusting Jesus? Bring them to Jesus. He may or may not change the circumstance, but He can change you!