This cross is thought to be the tallest in the world, standing at 492 feet in Madrid, Spain. It is so prominent that it can be seen from 40 miles away! Built between 1940-1958, it sits atop a monument to immortalize the fallen, which explains the monument’s name, “The Valley of the Fallen.” Roughly 34 thousand combatants are buried there, from both sides of their civil war. Half the fallen are buried on one side and half on the other.
Today’s verse describes two ways people view the cross of Christ, especially remembered on Good Friday. It continues to be a symbol of sacrificial love throughout the centuries. For those who are being saved it is a positive symbol of our salvation. We celebrate a cross where death led to life everlasting. But for those who are perishing the cross is foolishness. It signifies indignity and failure, rather than the power by which we are saved.
The cross continues to polarize. There is no middle ground as we are on one side or the other. We are all in the Valley of the Fallen, having fallen short of God’s standards. (Rom. 3;23) Like the two thieves crucified with Jesus, there are only two responses. I either place my trust in Christ as my substitute, or I remain in my sin. What power in this cross of Jesus! His power snatched me from darkness and placed me in His wonderful light! (I Peter 2:9) Because of the cross I have hope. I have life, forgiveness, and healing! The power of the cross is that it cancels the power of my guilt and shame!
Lord, I am eternally grateful for the power of Your cross.
Scripture for Today: II Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
It is a stunning sight to see these Monarch Butterflies cluster together at their sanctuary in Pacific Grove, California! I remember visiting there with my family as a young girl and being wowed by their sheer numbers! Their annual 3,000 mile migration begins in Southern Canada and ends in Mexico, with this springtime stopover. This is the longest migration of any insect. Imagine a caterpillar trying to cover that distance!
Today’s verse is a promise for those who are “in Christ.” Discarding the old, that person has become an entirely new creation. No longer do old habits and ways of thinking limit progress. With sleek bodies and strong wings, long distances can be covered with each new day showing us new vistas. Placing our faith in the saving work of Christ changes us. And this transformation is completely from God Himself (verse 18) who reconciled us to Himself through Christ.
So many refuse this offer of new life. They cannot see beyond their caterpillar stage and seem content to crawl along the ground rather than fly! But every Spring I am reminded of the new life He has given me. My old life is dead and buried. I have been changed forever! I am not at all tempted to return to the form of that caterpillar. He has given me wings, color, sweet nectar and new life! And it was all accomplished by His Spirit and not at all by my own efforts.
Scripture for Today: Matthew 13:44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.”
It’s not that I hate buying online. The convenience of it is wonderful when everything goes right. But when there is a problem, the back and forth with the company, the mailing back of the item or delays in being reimbursed can be very frustrating. Then there’s the decision as to whether it is worth it or not to buy again online. Sometimes it seems easier to just get in the car and shop the old fashioned way!
The purchase in today’s verse will have no buyer’s remorse! This parable told by Jesus points out the incredible value inherent in the kingdom of heaven. It is a treasure that is worth far more than everything a man can exchange for it. It is a treasure that is worth the effort of finding as it is eternal. It is ready and waiting in heaven where it is protected. (Matt. 6:20) But this treasure is also enjoyed now with knowing the King of this kingdom!
I sometimes forget that my little pile of baubles has no value at all compared to the treasure of knowing Him! Paul considered everything in his life a pile of garbage when measured against the surpassing worth of knowing Christ! (Phil. 3:8) What an incredible exchange God offers: light for darkness, forgiveness for guilt, rest for weariness, hope for despair, and peace for chaos. He asks of me all my heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30) And HE is a worth giving my all!
Scripture for Today: I Timothy 3:15 “if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.”
This ornate shrine stands 345 feet tall on the edge of a sea near Pattaya, India. It is made entirely of teakwood using an ancient Thai carpenter style, using no nails as they would rust in the sea air. Built in 1981 it houses thousands of Hindu and Buddhist gods and goddesses. Under one roof is found centuries of disparate beliefs from Southeast Asia. But the question is whether truth is found under this roof.
Today’s verse describes the Church as the pillar and foundation of truth. Both the pillar and the foundation are images of support and reinforcement for the truth of God’s Word. And when the “deep truths” of the faith are kept (verse 9) it will be evidenced by godly conduct. We know we are of the truth when Jesus Himself is the Source of godly living (verse 16). There is no system of thought or philosophy that can change a heart. There is no godly living without the life of the only true God.
I do not need to look for truth elsewhere. I have found the truth in Christ who declared that He Himself IS truth (John 14:6). And by His own words, His truth is exclusive. There is no other name by which we are saved (Acts 4:12). And yet, His invitation is inclusive extended to all who would come to Him in faith (John 12:46). His truth is my pillar and foundation as it holds me up and sustains me. Regardless of the shifting ideas of this world, my faith remains firm, upheld by a Person who is Truth.
Scripture for Today: Galatians 3:1 “You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified.”
With just eight seasons, the Bewitched show has become an icon of television history! We have the privilege of knowing the Murphy twins, Diane and Erin, who played the role of Tabitha. This show, running from 1964 to 1972 made the top 20 in its first five seasons. Its declining popularity toward the end of its run is sometimes blamed on the unexplained and sudden switch of the character, Darrin. There is even a term used to reference an unpopular switch; “the Darrin Syndrome.”
Today’s verse uses the term,” bewitched” to describe the switch the Galatians had made. They were bewitched or fooled into switching from the Gospel of grace to a system of works. A group of legalistic Judaizers convinced this group of converted Gentiles that the death of Christ was not sufficient. They believed that certain ceremonial laws of the Old Testament were still binding. They were adding works to the Gospel of grace. Paul reminds the Galatians that observing the Law did not earn them the Holy Spirit or right standing with God. Faith in Christ’s sacrifice is what was essential.
It is so easy to be “bewitched” today. How many religions fool their adherents to believe that it is through our own efforts that we are saved or can please God? Why switch to a never-ending treadmill of works that does not erase my sense of guilt? I am never good enough. There is always more I should be doing. I am so thankful for His grace. God’s standard of righteousness was fully met in my Savior and the debt of my sin has been fully paid!
Thank you Lord, that You paid it all and there is nothing more to add!