Tag Archives: angel

A Pharaoh in America or An American Pharoah?

american pharoah

I was a bit surprised when I read the headline. After all, it isn’t every day I am commanded on the front page of the paper to, “Hail, Pharoah!” Was there a major coup while I slept?

Of course, it wasn’t that kind of Pharaoh. And by now, you have probably heard about “American Pharoah,” the horse with the misspelled name. Pharoah pulled off a rare feat – a Triple Crown win. He is the 12th horse to accomplish this honor (the first was in 1919 and the most recent was 1978).

So the headline was about a horse, not a dictator. Whew! But here’s a thought, what if  “Hail, Pharaoh!” actually was the headline today?

You see, a few thousand years ago, back in Egypt, “Hail Pharaoh,” was a common headline. Tuesday’s paper read: “Hail, Pharaoh!” Wednesday’s? “Hail, Pharaoh!” Thursday’s…yeah, you get the point. Because, “Hail, Pharaoh” was the way of life.

And if you were an Israelite, you were a slave. You had no hope of a better life. Your parents and grandparents were slaves. Life was hostile. Egyptians even passed laws ordering the murder of babies in order to control the population.

But there was one hope to hold on to in that bleak world. God had made a promise to your ancestor, Abraham. He said that your people would be enslaved for a time in Egypt, but they would be delivered one day.

Of course, God fulfilled that promise through His servant Moses. But, sadly, many of the Israelites had given up hope. In fact, they had become so used to being slaves that some actually preferred slavery to God’s deliverance.

Fast-forward almost 1,500 years. God’s people were enslaved to sin, but He had promised to free them through a new covenant with an even greater deliverer.  And He fulfilled that promise in Jesus. All those who follow Christ will enter the Promised Land of Heaven.

Fast-forward almost 2,000 years. The headlines today proclaim, “Hail, Money,” “Hail, Politics,” and “Hail, Fame.” Is your trust in slavery to this life or eternal freedom with God in Heaven?

Consider this: Some people bet on “American Pharaoh,” the winner, and others chose the losing horses. Betting on the “wrong horse” has come to mean putting your trust in a losing ticket.

The Triple Crown is impressive, but there is a crown that is far more impressive. Won’t you “hail the power of Jesus’ Name” to which “angels prostrate fall?” As Perronet’s 1780 hymn says, “Bring forth the royal diadem, and crown Him Lord of all!” Trust in the Crown of Life, Christ Jesus.

A Wonderful Life Remake: It’s A Terrible Life?

It's A Wonderful Life Sequel Is In The Works imageWhat do you do if you are a Hollywood producer and no new ideas come across your desk? You just remake someone else’s movie and change the ending in some perverse, shocking way, of course! The latest film to fall “victim” to the world of remakes is none other than Frank Capra’s classic film from 1946, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” But this time Hollywood might be “moving the boundary stones” too far.

You probably remember that the point of the original is that the town would have been much worse off if Jimmy Stewart’s character, George Bailey, had never been born. But the challenge for the remake is, “how do you improve Capra’s classic?”

The new film’s writers and producers are betting against Capra’s positive message that one man can make a real difference in people’s lives. Instead, in this postmodern, cynical twist, George Bailey’s grandson gets a visit from an angel to tell him that the town would have been better off if he had never been born! In other words, the plan is to bring something good out of saying, “the world would be better off without you.” Good luck.

Thankfully, by 80% to 20%, the online community has responded with a collective, “Terrible idea. Leave well enough alone.” I pray that this response means that people still have hope that one person can make a difference. And I especially pray that the world knows (or will know) that one person already has.

The fictional George Bailey helps teach that one person can make a difference. We probably shouldn’t tamper with that story. But scripture tells us that one person truly has made a difference. And we definitely shouldn’t tamper with the true record of the Bible!

Sin and death reigned in this world until Jesus came and made a difference. “God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many” because of the difference He made (Romans 5:15)! Praise God for the One who truly made a difference!

A King is Born…maybe!

PHOTO: Britain's Prince William

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!

Not an angel, but a good reward anyway!

Image: Dave Matthews and Emily Kraus

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!