A king is born! Well…maybe. As you have probably heard, William and Kate finally had their baby. Or, as a friend told me, “Phil Mickelson won the British Open and it caused such a stir in England that a lady had a baby.” And wouldn’t you know it – it’s a boy! That means that the “baby of Cambridge” is 3rd in line to be King of England. That’s right…third! Five million hits on Google this week to look up “royal baby,” for a child who might be king one day!
You see, in spite of having the right lineage, he still has to wait his turn. And the royals seem to live a long time (they have great medical care). Therefore, William and Kate’s baby may not have a chance to sit on the throne until he is quite old! So what’s the big to-do about then? Has anything really changed in England? Isn’t the monarchy still just a figure-head regime? The truth is that the monarchy is only still around because people are so fascinated by royalty.
If we are honest, our royalty obsession is probably based on a desire to be treated like kings and queens. Cinderella is still a favorite among all ages because a common girl becomes a fairy tale princess. But you don’t need fairy tales to be royalty! If we have been baptized into Christ we are a “royal priesthood” (1 Peter 2:9), we are fellow heirs with our King (Romans 8:17; Galatians 3:29), we will reign with Christ (Revelation 20:4), and we will sit in judgment of the world (1 Corinthians 6:2).
Our King was born humbly, and suffered greatly, that we might learn that all are equal in Him. No matter what our lineage is, we can be born again into the royal family. And when one lost sinner accepts the gospel and is born in Christ…angels rejoice (Luke 15:10), and a crowd of witnesses cheers us on as we grow in the faith (Hebrews 12:1). I’ll take that crowd over 5 million Google hits any day!
Have you ever had one of those moments when you had to make a split decision between stopping to ask someone if they are ok or drive on because you have somewhere to be? Emily Kraus will never forget the time she stopped to ask. Emily and her boyfriend were on the way to a Dave Mathews concert, when they saw a bike rider with a flat tire on the side of the road. What would you have done?
In this dangerous world, it is hard to know whether or not to stop. And I am not telling you that stopping is the right thing for you. But I am glad to say that this time it all worked out. You see, the guy just happened to be Dave Matthews! He was out for a bike ride before his concert that night and he was stuck with a flat and no cell phone to get help. Many people passed by, but Emily and her boyfriend decided to stop. Imagine their surprise when they learned it was Matthews! He graciously invited the couple to dinner, gave them backstage passes and front row seats to his concert. He even mentioned their kindness during the concert. Quite a payoff for deciding to stop!
The Hebrews writer states, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it” (Hebrews 13:2). While I am not ruling out the possibility that there are angels on the earth today, that isn’t really what this passage says. The Hebrews writer is merely looking back in history and saying that people doing the will of God, such as Lot, have entertained angels without knowing who they were (Genesis 19). We must be kind to fellow Christians, strangers, prisoners, and those who are ill-treated by society. And if we do so in the name of Christ, we will be rewarded for our efforts.
And if you think Emily and her boyfriend had a great payoff, think about eternity with our Lord where His children will have great joy (Jude 1:24) and all-access passes!
In a bizarre, live version of “where’s Waldo,” the world has been following Edward Snowden’s travel itinerary with great interest. If you aren’t aware, Snowden was a contractor for the National Security Agency (NSA) and an employee of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). He leaked information about top-secret surveillance programs to the press, and was charged with espionage and theft. Snowden sees himself as a hero, but the government sees him as a fugitive and wants him brought to justice. The problem, though, is getting to him before he gets to one of the countries that has offered him asylum.
Asylum is an old idea. In fact, in the bible (Joshua 20), there were 6 “cities of refuge” that carried with them the idea of asylum. In those days, if someone had murdered another person, their blood relative might become an “avenger of blood” and try to bring that person to justice. However, if the death was accidental, and the fugitive could make it to one of the cities of refuge, they could call upon the leaders of that city to help them.
Of course, a lot has changed in the world of refuge. The real purpose of asylum in scripture was to make sure the accused had a fair trial. In the bible, the one who was fleeing had to stand trial and receive asylum (if innocent) or punishment (if guilty). Today, asylum seems to be a way to avoid justice. Today’s “cities of refuge” seem to be China, Russia, and now Venezuela.
Nevertheless, there is only one true place of refuge. I thank God that, in Christ, we have a refuge far greater than a city or country! If you want to have your sins washed clean, there is only one way to do so – become a child of God and live in His refuge. It is unclear how history will judge Snowden, but each of us will stand before the judgment seat in order to be judged for the deeds we have done in the flesh. Those who are in Christ will have protection because we are covered by one in whom there was no sin. Perfect asylum!
Pope John Paul II took a “big step toward sainthood,” according to recent news, when a second “miracle” was credited to him by a Vatican congregation of cardinals and bishops. The first “miracle” was said to have been the alleged healing of a French nun, Sister Marie Simon-Pierre, in 2005. This second miracle being attributed to John Paul II was the healing of a Costa Rican woman, in 2011, the night of John Paul’s “beatification ceremony.”
In Catholicism, in order to become a saint, an individual must have miracles attributed to their name and a papal signature. Seventy-eight former popes have been canonized into sainthood; the last was Pope Pius X who was pope from 1903 to 1914. With this 2nd miracle attributed, several sources now believe that John Paul II should have no problems being canonized as a saint by the end of the year.
What about the rest of us? Do we have any hope of becoming saints? The good news is that sainthood actually doesn’t cost miracles and papal signatures. In fact, every Christian is identified as a saint according to scripture. In Philippians 4:21, Paul reminds the Philippians to greet every “saint” (literally, “holy one”), just as all the saints with him greet the Philippians. Paul even goes so far as to say that the saints in Caesar’s household send their greetings too. Saints are merely brothers and sisters in Christ!
Of course, we are not “saints” in the sense that we do nothing wrong or that we have miraculous healing powers, in fact far from it. We are “saints” because we have been cleansed and set apart by the blood of Christ. Christ “paid a debt He did not owe” as the song says, and that payment was enough for everyone who is willing to become a saint. It won’t cost you miracles and papal signatures, but it did cost the precious blood, spilled on our behalf. The price has been paid and you can be a saint for free today! Need to know how? Get in touch…we are glad to help.