Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Stand and Deliver-DD 3/31/10

"Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, 'Do not imagine that you in the king's palace can escape any more than all the Jews. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?'" Esther 4:13, 14

This passage involves Mordecai's admonishment of Esther to do the right thing in the face of a mortal threat to the people of God. Having been made aware of this threat, Esther initially offers excuses that involve peril to her own life at approaching the king about the issue despite being his wife. As a result, Mordecai informs her that she, being a Jew herself, would share the fate of the people. More importantly, he reminds her that she, as a result of the most unlikely chain of events, may have been made queen to save a people at this moment.

We all need to understand who we are in God. We are His children and He has promised to save us. Though we may not understand why we are where we are or why we must endure certain circumstances in our lives, we, like Esther, need to be reminded that we are where God put us according to His purposes. Let us always seek God's purpose in everything we do. To be sure, He has put us where we are to provide deliverance for a people.

In Revival,


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Closer Than You Think-DD 3/30/10

In John's gospel account, he writes, "And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory as of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace." This verse establishes two critical truths about our Savior; Jesus is Divine and Jesus is simultaneously human.

Jesus' divinity is clearly established in a number of scriptures, however; nowhere is it more clearly stated than in John 1:1. Although this fact is foundational to our Christian belief, how is it that we lowly, dirt made creatures can ever hope to be in communion with the Creator of the universe and all it contains? Paul writes in Col 2:9 that " him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily." I don't know about you but that is an awful intimidating thought. I suggest that it would be for anyone. Nevertheless, if Jesus was Deity only, there would have been no perfect and atoning sacrifice for us and therefore no hope of salvation. This brings me to the second truth and the point of this message.

Jesus was also fully man. John indicates this by saying not only was he flesh, but he lived with them and they were able to see, observe, hear and touch him (as was also indicated in 1 John 1:1-4). This was critically important to establish because there was operating at the time, a sect of individuals known as the Gnostics that questioned the existence of Christ or at the very minimum his humanity as it relates to him being flesh and blood. They maintained that nothing made of matter could be divine, but only inherently evil, therefore Christ was not a man. Clearly, if this were the case, he could never have been the atoning sacrifice and again we'd fine ourselves with no hope of salvation.

Christ indeed suffered. More importantly, he didn't suffer for the sake of suffering, nor did he suffer for himself. He suffered for us, 1 Pet 3:18. Now this is very important. Jesus being man suffered both as a man and for mankind. "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." Heb 4:14-16.

This has all been said to remind us that Jesus, now at the right hand of the Father in His Deity knows all and loves completely, but that as the Son of Man, knows intimately all that we endure and is our very present help in a time of need. Jesus our Savior; he is closer than you think.

In Revival,


Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Hope in Death

A few weeks ago my first cousin died.

I know that as you read that sentence you will silently utter condolences and wonder if we were close. Thank you and we were not. We were not close for two main reasons. The first is that I am the product of a military family. My dad being in the Air Force for all of my formative years, we were never in more than one place for more than four years and never lived in Baytown, TX where my cousin lived and died. The second reason is that he, Damon Bates Broussard, was mentally challenged. So that you will know exactly what I'm talking about, though the phrase has fallen out of political correctness, he was diagnosed as mentally retarded soon after he was born.

What this came to mean to his family and all that new and loved him is that he would never be able to converse as most people do. It came to mean that he would never be able to care for himself. It meant that he was completely dependant on others for survival and daily care. Sure his motor skills were fine but somewhere along the way a short circuiting of what we might consider normal mental faculties eluded him and set the course of life for his family from that day to this.

My beloved Aunt Eva and Uncle Roy loved Damon with all of their hearts. Everything they did throughout the entirety of his life revolved around caring for him and providing for his needs. Times got tough, money got short and their own health issues intruded but Damon never went without his bodily needs nor his need for love. Aunt Eva in particular provided for his daily cleaning, feeding, clothes washing and mental stimulation. They developed a type of sign language that helped them understand one another. The casual observer might have felt sorry for everyone involved, but appearances from the outside can often be deceiving.

A woman of faith herself, raised in a family of faith, she relied totally on her relationship with God to count a life of raising Damon all joy. She blossomed into someone who knew intimately what servant hood and humility are all about. Unlike many of us, she has always known her mission in life. Countless individuals have been encouraged by her strength, her resolve and her love.

I cannot tell you what Damon went through, what he thought or how he felt. You and I cannot imagine what it would be like to be in such an incapacitated mental state, though I'm sure for him, it was all he knew. I know I've seen him happy and I've seen him sad. I've seen him experience joy and I've seen him experience anger. Most of all, I've seen him give and receive love.

This brings me to the point of this writing. What must life be like for Damon now? Since the Father has called him home, has he been released from that which afflicted him? I can't help but think of the Gadarene who was relieved of those that possessed him after coming into contact with Jesus in Mark 5. I imagine Damon being "clothed and in his right mind." I imagine the day that his mother, father and the rest of his family meets him in the life to come. I imagine him saying to Eva, "Hi mom. I love you," as Jesus stands at a distance and smiles. And I imagine this scene being repeated for so many of us that have lost loved ones that are now absent from the body but present with the Lord.

There is indeed for some, yet available for all, hope in death.