My family and I began a tradition for Memorial Day when we had lived up in Savannah, GA for three years where we would visit the many memorials around the city and lay roses on them, taking time to pause and reflect on the true meaning of the holiday. Yesterday was my first Memorial Day in the city since we moved back and the first time I brought my son and the first year my oldest would remember this tradition. It was a somber, magical day.
The city of Savannah is coming back to life. There were a handful of tourists on the trolleys, restaurants were open with modified seating, bars were back to pumping out loud music. The world is poised to reopen. I fear that when we do, we will have learned nothing from this. I fear at this point, that we are going to go right back to our old habits. It’s the culture of humanity. We just had the slap in the face the world needed to remind us of our fragile existence and get us to concentrate on what is truly important, but did we learn anything except that we need to always have a stockpile of toilet paper on hand? Did we learn that we have strayed far from God and Jesus? Did we learn that we have let technology poison our way of life? Did we learn that we have let generation after generation destroy our environment? Did we learn how fast this world can heal if we give it a chance? Did we learn how important our time with one another is? Did we take advantage of the unprecedented time we had with our children and families at home?
I share a lot of music on here just for the simple purpose of you to hear and listen to in hope it would bring an uplifting sound to your soul. Today I am sharing a video you just have to watch. Hillsong United released a remix album of their amazing song, “Another in the Fire,” which was my anthem for 2019. It can easily be the anthem for this year as well. Watch the video to the end and you’ll see the truth in all of this: we have never been alone.
5“We have found this man to be a troublemaker, stirring up riots among the Jews all over the world. He is a ringleader of the Nazarene sect 6and even tried to desecrate the temple; so we seized him, and we would have judged him in accordance with our law. 7But the commander Lysisas came and took him from us with muc violence, 8ordering his accusers to come before you. By examining him yourself you will be able to learn the truth about all these charges we are bringing against him.” (Acts 24:5-8)
I chose to highlight a lot of the trial Paul faces in Jerusalem because it seems eerily similar to the same trial Jesus faced before the Jewish crowds. Both men were judged by the Roman authorities, and the Roman rulers could never find anything to hold against either Jesus or the Apostle Paul. I particularly love these verses because of the slander the Jewish lawyer, Tertullus, brings up against Paul, this ringleader of the “Nazarene sect.” This “troublemaker,” stirring up riots all over the world. “Desecrating” the Jewish temple. Paul must have smiled at each of those titles. He was accomplishing exactly what he had set out to do. Paul was bringing Christianity to the unaccepting Jewish people. Paul was bringing the Truth to God’s chosen people and causing riots, because the Truth of Jesus was world-changing to the Jewish nation. Their salvation had come in the form of love and kindness, accepting all nations and people and living a good Godly life to find a different prosperity and eternity. The Jewish at the time did not want that, they wanted a mighty savior to come in, wipe out everyone else and reestablish the Jewish throne over the entire world. Well, God had tired of His chosen people by this time in humanity’s history. God had forgiven and reestablished the Israelites time-and-time again, just to have them stray from God over-and-over. At this time in history, when God had allowed other cultures and societies to prosper and rule the world, the Jewish were pleading to God for salvation. 400 years of Babylonian rule gave way to the Roman empire. The Jewish people were viewed as a crazy religious sect themselves by the Roman empire. But then here comes Paul and the Truth. Here comes Paul and the key to humanity. Here comes Paul and the Holy Spirit. Here comes Paul and Jesus. Here comes Paul and love. Here comes Paul before Jerusalem one last time, giving the Jewish leaders one last look, one last shot at salvation, one last chance to be baptized by the Holy Spirit and believe in the truth of Jesus.
Israel still, 2,000 years later, does not accept Jesus for who He is. We have seen in our lifetime the power and eternal grace of God as He reestablished the kingdom of Israel after the world fought in the last great war. What if Jesus is waiting to return to Earth to collect His people once God’s chosen nation finally accepts Jesus for the Messiah? If that’s the case, we’ll never see the return of Jesus. But what about Christianity? What have we become in the last 2,000 years? How are we setting the example to the world of the love and grace of Jesus Christ? Have we become any better than the Jewish nation in missing the message and meaning of Christ? Looking around at the great “Christian” nation of America, then I would shout loudly, “Yes!” We are completely missing the message of Jesus. We have become consumed with ourselves, our wealth, our technology, and all the other worldly desires. Christinaity needs to return to the point where the Nazarene sect is stirring up riots all over the world. Riots of love, of peace, of generosity, of healing, of blessings, of truth. Let’s shake this country to its core and become the great Christian nation God had always intended us to be.
Reading plan: Acts 25
Deeper reading plan: Job 25, 26, 27
Prayer and meditation: Pray for the sick, pray for the lost and their loved ones. Pray for redemption for this lost world. Pray for a reviving rattle to shake COVID off this planet. And continue to pray for all those in medical professions, grocery stores, supply chain operators, first responders, and the amazing teachers still doing all they can to teach the students they love so much. Pray for all the businesses trying to recover and keep their associates able to provide for their families. Pray that the world reopens without a surge of new COVID outbreaks. And pray that the world has undergone a lasting change and the flame of revival has been lit!
Fitness challenge: Sprint work. The ladder sprints were fun but we only have two more days of sprints this month, so we’re going to do some good work on the 300 (make sure you do a good warm-up and stretch):
½ mile warm up
100, 100, 200, 200, 300, 300, 300, 300, 200, 200, 100, 100
½ mile cool down.