You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Jesus’ tag.

 

dp146502

The Bible makes it clear that Jesus came to this world to save us earthlings from our sins and destroy the work of the devil. He came to proclaim the truth about a kingdom that was present when He walked the earth but also was yet to come, of which those who believe in Him will be a part. He came to give us joy in full, not just happiness—true joy in Him. Everlasting life, beautiful life indeed as opposed to everlasting punishment, which we deserve. To be His very sons and daughters. To set us free from guilt and shame.

It is that last sentence that I’d like to discuss for a moment.

Men and women who have committed shameful sins, tragic sins, sins that cause grief in the lives of others and in their own, struggle with believing that anyone could ever forgive them. They are overwhelmed with that feeling, which is given ample fuel by the accuser, the adversary, the liar—the devil and his deceitful troops. He is trying to destroy them through the sin they committed and with which he enticed them.

Such an iniquitous system. He tempts people to sin then bashes them over the head with shame and condemnation when they give in.

Then the great, loving Jesus comes along, washes over them with His Spirit and blood, cleanses their souls and minds completely, totally forgives them, and the Father welcomes them into His family.

Yes. The greatest story ever told.

However, even though such a person—let’s call her Kelly—has been forgiven and made clean and righteous by God, she may not receive such a forgiving welcome from others, her family, society, or even the church itself. Regardless of how her church or anybody else responds, however, Kelly must deal with her sins with deep humility and faith, because the accuser will remind her of the awfulness of her sin as often as he is able. Kelly, the forgiven, sinful one, must walk through this lonesome valley, as the old song says, by herself, trusting in the truth of His promise of mercy. Thoughts will come at the most unexpected times, thoughts that may make her cringe.

Each time, she must cry out for help.

Each time, she must confess her faith. “I know you have forgiven me, Father. Deliver me, please, from the evil one.” She may also add, “Bless those, Lord, who were hurt because of my actions. Help them overcome those injuries. Help them to forgive me.”

Scripture is full of promises of forgiveness and mercy, and the truth about righteousness. Here are a couple from both the Old and New Testaments that are short and easy to understand.

“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:11–12). 1

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Yes. That’s right. Kelly has been given the righteousness of God Himself. It is in His righteousness she stands and lives, not hers. She is holy, as holy as Jesus Himself, because of what He did.

That’s a great relief.

What follows is one of the most precious truths in Scripture for those whom the accuser and possibly their own thoughts, condemn: “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22–23). The Lord God will love Kelly—forever. The supply of His mercies cannot be exhausted—they never end. His mercies are new—every morning of her life, without fail. She can wake up the next morning, fresh and guiltless before God.

This is the valley Kelly must walk through alone. No one else can walk it for her. Her thoughts will show up at random, either from her own heart or from the helpers of the prince of the power of the air. It doesn’t matter the source. What matters is that she knows that she is a forgiven daughter of God the Father, God Almighty, and the sister of His Son, Jesus, her Savior, sovereign-over-everything King, and constant, comforting Friend.

This is joy, true joy indeed; joy that will make her overflow in thankfulness and praise to her loving God.

No matter what our history is. No matter what dreadful things we have done. And, yes, I’ll agree that they were dreadful. We were in league with the devil. We were selfish. Unkind. Disgusting.

Yes.

Do you know how I know we feel this way? Do have any questions about how I know what to do when the onslaught of negative garbage and vile manure is poured out upon a person?

I think you may already know the answer.

 

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Image courtesy the Smithsonian Art Museum.

 

Advertisements

for-blog

I appreciate how Christians all over the world try to add meaning to what used to be a beautiful religious observance that has “magically” been transformed into a greed-filled, money-making extravaganza, filled with false gift-induced joy. I guess this shouldn’t surprise us, knowing the nature of mankind.

Christians read the wonderful accounts in Matthew and Luke at Christmas time, as they should. They talk about the shepherds, Joseph, Mary, the angels, the kings from the East, the star, and the stable. All good stuff. However, one monumental truth that is not emphasized should be, and if and when it is, will take the misty, warm stories about the birth of Jesus and turn them to jaw-dropping, fall-to-our-knees truth.

Read the rest of this entry »

p1040005

To me, Ezekiel is one of the strangest books in the Bible. The only one stranger is Revelation. When I use the word “strange,” I do not mean that in a negative way at all. It’s just that when I read these two books, my response is, “Wow. What? Really!?”

Read the rest of this entry »

p1040003Last night, I had the opportunity—privilege, really—to teach at a small Bible study. The passage I dealt with was Matthew 18:1-4. In this passage, the disciples come to Jesus and ask, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Jesus responds with two answers. One has to do with the disciples, and the other has to do with Himself. Without going into a lengthy study of these verses, please allow me to sum up the topic of this passage: The meaning of greatness in God’s kingdom. I encourage you to do a study of this portion and discover Jesus’ view on greatness in His kingdom.

So, last night, I attempted to explain the implications of Jesus’ teaching in these first verses of Matthew 18. I was flabbergasted with the response. It seemed like I was talking about one topic and everyone else was talking about another. It’s as if I was teaching on one planet and everyone else was teaching on another, with no discernable means of communication between the two parties.

Read the rest of this entry »

bank-1

I’m taking another break from the series, The God Who Is Low and Humble in Heart, to look at this article from the Motley Fool. The text is included below, and here is the link: http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2014/01/29/50-reasons-were-living-through-the-greatest-period.aspx

Before the article, however, a hopefully brief introduction.

Except for my time abroad as a missionary, I have lived most of my life in the United States. I grew up here. I went to school and worked here. I consider myself a patriot, one who loves the freedoms that we enjoy and the benefits of living in this nation. However, I have grave concerns about the degradation of our culture.

Read the rest of this entry »

2004-07-08_1925_1_fromjoewatson

This is the third and last installment in a series of articles in which we are endeavoring to consider the amazing Christian God and how He chooses those who are weak. His stunning choices are in direct contradistinction to how we think, which is that we should be strong, influential and “noticed” in order to get the big things done  and be “effective” in ministry.

Read the rest of this entry »

img_0414

“Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us.”

I am so happy to be a Christian. I am so happy that the Lord has given us such a high standard by which to live. Honestly, I’m just stunned about what the Lord teaches us and expects from us. Anyone who has even a passing understanding of what Jesus taught should be challenged down to his or her core. Let’s look at a few of the New Testament commands that are just impossible for us to live up to.

“Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.” That’s a nice place to start, don’t you think? Perfection. Sure. No problem.

Read the rest of this entry »

P1030195

My software engineer friend and I got together for our weekly coffee meeting on this 28th day in June, 2012, and lamented over the state of our country, the United States of America. It was the survival of the president’s health care law that spun us off in that direction, but it was—and is—more than that.

What baffles me, regardless of one’s political persuasion, is how those in power continue to think that we can spend more than we take in. Adding a mind-boggling expense/tax at this time in our economic state just defies imagination. I just don’t get it.

Read the rest of this entry »

2009-02-23_1236_village

Let’s revisit the requirements for discipleship from Luke 14:25-35.

To be Jesus’ disciple you must love Him more than anything else in your world. You must love Him more than you love your family, including your spouse and children, as well as loving Him more than your own life (vs. 26). You must be willing to make the decision to suffer and die for Him, when and if that is necessary (vs. 27). You must give up, from your heart, everything for Him, including your possessions (vs. 33). Jesus clearly tells us in verses 34 and 35 that unless we do these things, we are like flavorless salt that really isn’t good for much, not good for the soil, not even good for the manure pile; it’s just thrown away. Think about this—not good enough for the manure pile. It sounds like Jesus wasn’t that concerned about our earthly self-esteem when He was teaching us the importance of following Him in discipleship.

Jesus expects these commitments from us because He made them Himself—He chose to make them.

img_0310

The Bible is full of amazing statements. Perhaps it’s more accurate to say that the Bible is amazing from cover to cover. However, at different times in our lives, some portions are “made real” to us. They stand out. The Holy Spirit opens our eyes and causes the truth of those verses to crash into our understanding about the nature of God.

Here is one such passage, and it just absolutely, completely astounds me. At different times when I have shared it with others, I can barely keep myself from crying. It’s from Luke 12, and Jesus has been talking for some time about money, possessions and the things of this world. He tells us to give to the poor and store up treasure in heaven, not on the earth—this is in verse 33. In verse 34 He says, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

Read the rest of this entry »

For more about the books

POSTS BY THE MONTH / YEAR

POSTS BY CATEGORIES AND TITLES

Follow me on Twitter

Advertisements