I would like to take a minute to thank the people of 1800's Naples for creating a wonderful, round, cheese-covered piece of deliciousness called pizza. Everyone has their favorite kind of pizza and mine happens to be the Margherita. Featuring large pieces of mozzarella cheese, sliced tomatoes, and fresh basil, the Margherita pizza was named after Queen Margherita in the late 1800's. You could say this style of pizza is fit for a queen.
Easter falls on April 1st this year, which will be here before we know it. As one of two major holidays observed by Christians, Easter offers an opportunity to celebrate with our church communities, family, and friends, and even more importantly, to reflect on Jesus' life, death, and resurrection.
There is a real risk of missing Easter's significance amidst bunnies, egg hunts, and family gatherings. Even for those who intentionally engage in Good Friday and Easter Sunday observances, the reality is, we can go through all the pageantry without ever truly reflecting on what it signifies.
Last month, Liberty HealthShare Executive Director Dale Bellis spoke to a packed ballroom from the main stage at the American Conservative Union's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. Liberty HealthShare does not endorse political movements, parties, or candidates, however, CPAC offers a great opportunity to share healthcare sharing with an audience that is invested in religious and economic liberty; principles we strongly feel should be promoted.
The moment he took the stage, Dale delved into what he believes are the fatal flaws in our nation's current system for healthcare delivery, homing in on the third-party-payer system in particular.
Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no guilt in this man." ...Pilate addressed them once more, desiring to release Jesus, but they kept shouting, “Crucify, crucify him!” A third time he said to them, “Why? What evil has he done? I have found in him no guilt deserving death..." Luke 23:4, 20-22 (ESV)
The cast of characters who were part of Jesus' final earthly days ranged in devotion from disciple to mortal enemy. Pilate is intriguing because, by all accounts, his role was that of an unwilling participant in the infamous event.
Chances are, you or a loved one has been personally touched by a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is a disease that impacts the body's ability to handle glucose, a type of sugar, in the blood. Most people who suffer from the condition have type 2 diabetes, which results from the body not using insulin as well as it should, a condition called "insulin resistance." This type of diabetes used to be known colloquially as "adult-onset," but due to an epidemic of obesity among children, more and more children and teens are now diagnosed in the United States each year.
But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. Galatians 6:14-15 (ESV)
At times, it is tempting to place our trust and hope in the things we do for Jesus.
And as Jesus passed on from there, two blind men followed him, crying aloud, “Have mercy on us, Son of David.” When he entered the house, the blind men came to him, and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to him, “Yes, Lord.” Then he touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith be it done to you.” And their eyes were opened. Matthew 9:27-30 (ESV)
As Christians, we all struggle with living out the belief that God's grace truly is enough to save us.
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21 (ESV)
One of the dominant messages sent by our culture is that success is measured largely by financial standing. Despite the fact that most of us know there is a limit to the satisfaction and security money provides, we must constantly fight the temptation to place our trust in our possessions.
But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you. Psalm 5:11 (ESV)
When we reflect on our relationships, it's clear that the people with whom we feel the most closeness are those who have earned our trust. Where protection and loyalty are a given, joy follows.