Friday, 5 April 2013

The Writing on the Wall

I remember it like it was yesterday. Mike came out of the men’s washroom with a mischievous grin on his face. It was one of those “I’m up to something” grins that I had seen many times before. Erin, Karen, my mom and I were waiting for him in the hall of the science wing of the education building at UBC. We were there for an event Erin’s class was hosting, about eighteen months ago.

Mike wanted a pen, he didn’t tell us why he wanted a pen, but he needed a pen. We all checked our purses and pockets; no pens. He would accept any writing instrument: a felt pen, a pencil, a crayon, an eye liner, whatever we could offer. I had a lip stick, but I needed to know what it was for. With the same grin he had when he came out of the washroom, he ushered me in. He pointed out the writing on the wall in one of the washroom stalls, it said, “God is dead - Nietzsche”. Perhaps written by an over-zealous , misguided philosophy student.
Mike is pretty passionate about his beliefs and needed to respond to set the record straight. As much as I opposed the idea of my expensive lipstick being used to write the rebuttal on the wall in the men’s washroom stall, I didn’t really have a choice. It was his duty to make right the wrong of a student who was long gone for the sake of every other student yet to use that toilet. So I handed over my lip stick and Mike made the necessary changes, and then we took a picture of his lipstick lesson of truth.

The Bible says, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” The statement refers to Jesus, who is “the way, the truth and the life” and “whoever believes in Him will receive everlasting life” from John 14:6 and John 3:16.
Having just celebrated Easter, the death and resurrection story is still resonating in my mind. The picture of a beaten and bloodied Jesus and His brutal death on the cross leaves me speechless, humbled and extremely grateful. From the words of an old hymn; “What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus”.  He paid a huge price as God’s sacrifice, nailed to a wooden cross along with the sins of the whole world. Not only did Jesus die for mankind, He rose again. It’s the greatest victory in all of history and our God lives!

Romans 6:23 says: For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus.
Considering gifts are usually free, “free gift” is a little redundant, but I guess the word “free” in this New Living translation is used to stress the point that the price has been paid and there is nothing we can do or have to do to earn a place in God’s kingdom. You must believe in Him to receive the prize, but the cost is covered.

Oswald Chambers says, “The underlying foundation of the Christian faith is the undeserved, limitless miracle of the love of God that was exhibited on the Cross of Calvary; a love that is not earned and can never be.”
Who doesn’t like free stuff? I love free stuff! But we’re talking about a home in heaven here, not a free sample at the grocery store or a buy one get one deal on shoes. This is big…it’s huge!

Over the years, Mike has often quoted the wise and famous words, “The best things in life are free.” After a walk on the Sea Wall in Vancouver or a bike ride on the dike here in Maple Ridge or a picnic in the park or at the beach, Mike, with a big smile on his face would remind me and the kids that indeed, the best things in life are free! The best things beyond this life are free too. And Mike, closer to the “beyond”, is drawing strength and encouragement from his “free gift” of eternal life.
The other night, I asked Mike a few questions. I said to him, “If you didn’t have the Lord in your life, would you be depresses?” He answered, “Yes!”

I asked him, “Are you ever depressed now?” (Because he could still experience depression with the Lord in his life) He said, “No.”
Then I asked, “Why do you think you are never depressed?” He explained, “I’ve got my eyes on the prize.”

The following is a prayer similar to the one Mike and I prayed at different times in our lives when we decided to follow Jesus and accept God’s free gift of eternal life:
“Lord Jesus, thank you for dying on the cross for my sins and rising again to give me eternal life. Please forgive my sins. I open the door of my heart and receive you as my Lord and Savior. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me the free gift of eternal life. May your will be done in my life and help me be the person you want me to be. Amen!”

But for you who welcome him, in whom he dwells—even though you still experience all the limitations of sin—you yourself experience life on God’s terms. It stands to reason, doesn’t it, that if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, he’ll do the same thing in you that he did in Jesus, bringing you alive to himself? When God lives and breathes in you, you are delivered from that dead life. With his Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ’s!
This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him!   From Romans in the Message Bible

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