content top

News Flash: God Controls Time, Calendars Express Shock

News Flash: God Controls Time, Calendars Express Shock

And this small and temporary trouble we suffer will bring us a tremendous and eternal glory, much greater than the trouble. For we fix our attention, not on things that are seen, but on things that are unseen. What can be seen lasts only for a time, but what cannot be seen lasts forever. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (TEV) It will come as a surprise to our calendars, smartphones, and alarm clocks, but God controls time. The best our tools can do is measure the time passing. God created time and he uses it to direct and guide us into setting priorities. When tend to think in terms of today or next week, but God wants us to get our eyes on eternity. That is why Pastor Rick is teaching us to look ten years forward – to the end of this Decade of Destiny. Where does God want us to be then? What should be our priorities if we want to get to where God wants us to go? Why do we need to plan so far ahead? Our time will come to an end. It is a temporary tool God uses to bring us into forever. What if you only have ten years to live? How would you set your priorities differently? What stops you from setting them like that now? Whey do we need to plan so far ahead? Time moves faster than we think. I’m sure you can relate, but when my oldest son was 9, I thought, “Wow, we’re already half-way through to 18. Where does the time go.” And then, in what seemed like a moment, my son became 16. What will you do with the remaining time that God gives you with your children? What should your priorities be? Remember this — • Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). Time cannot diminish Christ’s love for you or his power to work within your life. He is there in the past; he is here in the now; and he is there in your future. With Jesus at work, it is never too late to begin again. • A thousand years are like the blink of an eye to God (Psalm 90:4). God is working to bring you into eternity, not just to get you through the end of next week. Praise God for his grace and for a love so strong that he wants you to spend an eternity with...

Read More

God is Never Too Busy to Talk

God is Never Too Busy to Talk

Doesn’t that privilege of intimate conversation with God make it plain that you are not a slave, but a child? And if you are a child, you’re also an heir, with complete access to the inheritance. Galatians 4:7 (MSG) Here are three encouraging facts to remember about God: God is never too busy – “The Lord is near to all who call on him.” (Psalm 145:18 NIV) He’s never too busy to talk to you. He’s always near. He never says, “Some other time.” God loves to meet your needs — He’s not annoyed by your request. “If you know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11 NIV) God is sympathetic to your hurts — “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and rescues those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18 NLT) When you hurt, God hurts. When you grieve, God grieves. He is there. And He cares. That is the Good...

Read More

God’s Delay May Be a Test of Your Patience

God’s Delay May Be a Test of Your Patience

“You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For in just a very little while, ‘He who is coming will come and will not delay.’” Hebrews 10:36-37 (NIV) If you’re discouraged because of God’s delay in answering your prayers, understand the delay is NOT a denial. Just because the answer hasn’t come – YET – that doesn’t mean God isn’t going to answer or that he’s forgotten you or that he doesn’t care about you. It simply means “not yet!” Part of becoming spiritually mature is learning the difference between “no” and “not yet,” between a denial and a delay. The Bible tells us, “He who is coming will come and will not delay.” (Hebrews 10:37 NIV) God’s delay may be a test of your patience. Anybody can be patient once. And, most people can be patient twice. And, a lot of us can be patient three times. So God tests our patience over and over and over. Why? So he can see how patient you are? No! He does it so you can see how patient you are. So you’ll know what’s inside you, and you’ll be able to know your level of commitment. God tests you so that you can know he is faithful, even if the answers you seek are delayed. If you’re discouraged, turn it around by remembering God teaches you patience during delay. Ask him to transform your discouragement into...

Read More

Parenting with the Lord’s Prayer: God Protects

Parenting with the Lord’s Prayer: God Protects

“… but deliver us from evil.” (Matthew 6:13 NIV) There is no doubt that this world is becoming increasing unsafe for our children. It is less safe for my grandkids than it was for my kids. And it was less safe for my kids than it was for me when I was growing up. And it was less safe for me than it was for my parents when they were growing up. Remember when you could go outside and play without parental supervision? Ride your bike to the park by yourself? There are all kinds of problems, sins … wackos, and weirdos out there. And there are all kinds of ways that evil can get to your child in your own home through the Internet, television, and things on their phones like sexting. So how do you protect your children from evil? Well, unfortunately, you can’t always control everything that happens to your kids because they’re not in your sight all the time, and they won’t be. But the things that are out of your control are not out of God’s control. So pray! That’s why prayer is so important. You need to pray for your children every day. You need to pray with them before they go to prom and you need to pray with them before the first day of school. You need to pray, “deliver us from evil,” because God’s answer to our fear is his power. He can...

Read More

Parenting with the Lord’s Prayer: Creating Stability

Parenting with the Lord’s Prayer: Creating Stability

“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10 NIV)   Study any psychological test and they’ll tell you the most insecure place for a kid to be is at the center of his or her family – controlling all the strings, getting their way in everything. Kids instinctively know they do not belong in the center of the family; it creates great insecurity in their lives. Where kids find stability and security is in having boundaries. This is true from the moment they are born. We take little babies and wrap them up tightly. It’s called swaddling and being tightly bound gives the baby a feeling of security. When you set boundaries with your children, they may push back, but they will also feel secure when those boundaries stand firm. They learn that you really do care about them. It’s when children don’t have those boundaries, and feel they can get away with anything, that they begin to question their parents’ love. In the same way children need to know God’s purpose for their life is part of God’s larger plan. This creates boundaries of identity for them. It let’s them know that life is not all about them. And in understanding God’s plan, they are able to find the answers to the basic questions of life: who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going? Where did I come from? Does my life have meaning? What is my purpose and how should I live it out? Why is this happening to me? When you teach a child, “thy kingdom come, they will be done” you are teaching them that God has a master plan for history, but he also has a specific plan for their...

Read More

Your prayers are desperately needed for our nation and our world

Your prayers are desperately needed for our nation and our world

Your prayers are desperately needed for our nation and our world—and for everything you’re believing for in your own life!Today, the first Thursday in May 2011, is the National Day of Prayer for the United States of America.Our country needs all its Christian citizens to join in this call to prayer. And God’s Word promises that we will receive answers as we agree...

Read More

Parenting with the Lord’s Prayer: Creating Stability

Parenting with the Lord’s Prayer: Creating Stability

“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10 NIV)   Study any psychological test and they’ll tell you the most insecure place for a kid to be is at the center of his or her family – controlling all the strings, getting their way in everything. Kids instinctively know they do not belong in the center of the family; it creates great insecurity in their lives. Where kids find stability and security is in having boundaries. This is true from the moment they are born. We take little babies and wrap them up tightly. It’s called swaddling and being tightly bound gives the baby a feeling of security. When you set boundaries with your children, they may push back, but they will also feel secure when those boundaries stand firm. They learn that you really do care about them. It’s when children don’t have those boundaries, and feel they can get away with anything, that they begin to question their parents’ love. In the same way children need to know God’s purpose for their life is part of God’s larger plan. This creates boundaries of identity for them. It let’s them know that life is not all about them. And in understanding God’s plan, they are able to find the answers to the basic questions of life: who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going? Where did I come from? Does my life have meaning? What is my purpose and how should I live it out? Why is this happening to me? When you teach a child, “thy kingdom come, they will be done” you are teaching them that God has a master plan for history, but he also has a specific plan for their...

Read More

Problems Force Us to Depend on God

Problems Force Us to Depend on God

I’m a mess. I’m nothing and have nothing: make something of me! You can do it; you’ve got what it takes God. Psalm 40:17 (Msg)   Jesus warned us that we’d have . No one is immune to pain or insulated from suffering, and no one gets to skate through life problem-free. Life is a series of problems. Every time you solve one, another one is waiting to take its place. Peter assures us that problems are normal, saying “Don’t be bewildered or surprised when you go through the fiery trials ahead, for this is no strange, unusual thing that is going to happen to you.” (1 Peter 4:12 LB) God uses these problems to draw you closer to himself. The Bible says, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18 NLT) Your most profound and intimate experiences of worship will likely be in your darkest days — when your heart is broken, when you feel abandoned, when you’re out of options, when the pain is great, and you turn to God alone. It is during suffering that we learn to pray our most authentic, heart-felt, honest-to-God prayers. When in pain, we don’t have the energy for superficial prayers. Joni Eareckson Tada notes, “When life is rosy, we may slide by with knowing about Jesus, with imitating him and quoting him and speaking of him. But only in suffering will we know Jesus.” We learn things about God in suffering that we can’t learn any other way. God could have kept Joseph out of jail, kept Daniel out of the lion’s den, kept Jeremiah from being tossed into a slimy pit, kept Paul from being shipwrecked three times, and kept the three Hebrew young men from being thrown into the blazing furnace, but he didn’t. He let those problems happen, and each of those people were drawn closer to God as a result. Problems force us to look to God and depend on him instead of ourselves. Paul testified to this benefit: “We felt we were doomed to die and saw how powerless we were to help ourselves; but that was good, for then we put everything into the hands of God, who alone could save us ….” (2 Corinthians 1:9 LB) You’ll never know that God is all you need until God is all you’ve...

Read More

Jesus Will Be With You Day After Day After Day

Jesus Will Be With You Day After Day After Day

The angel spoke to the women: “There is nothing to fear here. I know you’re looking for Jesus, the One they nailed to the cross. He is not here. He was raised, just as he said …. Matthew 28:5-6 (MSG)   [Jesus said,] “I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20 (MSG) As we’ve been learning this week, Easter is a celebration of Jesus conquering even death in order to give us freedom. He wants you to join him in heaven. How do you do that? You accept the gift that he’s given you, the gift of forgiveness and life. You can do that right now. You can talk to him and tell him, “I accept your gift of forgiveness and I accept your gift of life. I want to live the life that you made me to live.  Thank you, Jesus, for loving me.” This is a very simple prayer, but it changes everything. When you say I accept the fact that Jesus’ blood was given so I could be forgiven, it changes everything about your life, everything about who you are and everything about your eternity. With you in mind, I want to pray, “Jesus, we celebrate you and who you are.  We celebrate your love for us.  We thank you for Easter and the reminder that no matter how discouraging our week was this last week, there is good news in the future for us.” “No matter what other people say about us, you say that you love us.  And no matter what has happened in our lives, you will accept us as we come to you. Thank you for the gift of your love.  Thank you for the promise of your freedom. In your name we pray,...

Read More

So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day

So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day

So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first. “Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” – Matthew 27:64-65 (NIV) People may think that there is a lot of antagonism to the Christian faith today, but the opposition toward Jesus during His time was far greater. With Jewish leaders trying to protect their religious power and the Romans asserting their military might, they were not about to let this renegade rabbi Jesus become a symbol of challenge. But even their best efforts could not stop the power of God. Empires have tried to destroy the gospel for centuries, but no one can keep Jesus body in the grave. His resurrection power lives on and is spreading across the...

Read More

Jesus Redeems Us With Out stretched Arms

Jesus Redeems Us With Out stretched Arms

Taking bread, he blessed it, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “ Eat it in my memory.” He did the same with the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant written in my blood, blood poured out for you.” Luke 22:19-20 (Msg)   The third cup in the Passover meal is the cup of redemption. Redemption means to buy somebody’s freedom. Jesus bought your freedom with his life on the cross. At the Last Supper, which was a Passover meal, Jesus said, “This third cup, I want to give it new meaning. This is the promise of a new covenant between you and God, a new promise of freedom that comes through my blood.” He was saying, “I’m going to go to a cross and my life blood is going to be poured out for you.” He was saying, “I want you to take this cup of redemption and see it from now on as a representation of the fact that I’m pouring out my blood for you. And I want you, together, to take this and drink this and to remember me.” Jesus is the fulfillment of everything in the Passover meal. He’s the bread of life. He is God’s promise in our lives. The blood on the door posts in Egypt — now it’s fulfilled in Jesus who sacrificed his life for us, who poured out his blood to set us free from our sin and guilt. The Bible says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23 NLT) Jesus sets us free from ourselves; he sets us free from our fears; and he sets us free from our sin and our guilt. This is why we celebrate...

Read More

Jesus sets you free from your fears

Jesus sets you free from your fears

“I am the Lord. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.” Exodus 12:12-13 (NIV) There is a second cup in the Passover meal called the cup of plagues. And it is a reminder from God that he will free us from slavery to our fears. Do you remember the story of how the people of Israel were set free? Moses is tending sheep out on the backside of the desert and God comes to him, saying, “You are going to set my people free.” But when he goes to Pharaoh, Pharaoh says, “No way! They are too important to my economy; they are too important to my power in the world. I won’t set them free.” So God says, “I’m going to bring judgments against Pharaoh, and he will set my people free.”   God sends ten plagues across Egypt, such as the Nile River turning to blood, a swarm of frogs, the death of livestock, festering boils, darkness, even during the day, and, finally, the death of the first born. Things we all might fear. But God told the people of Israel: “I don’t want the death of the first born to occur in your households. If you’ll put your faith in me, if you’ll trust in me in this way, my death angel will pass over your house when it comes into Egypt. Take a lamb and kill it, then put the blood of the lamb on the door of your house and I will pass over your house.” The Passover meal celebrates the truth that God saved the first-born sons of Israel. Easter celebrates the truth that God gave his first-born son to save us. Just like the angel passed over those households, God says you can crossover from death to life. The Bible says, “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.” (John 5:24 NIV) Jesus says you may die physically, but you’ll never be separated from me, and you will live with me in eternity. A lot of people they live in fear of God. They feel like God’s out to get them somehow and, if you feel that way, here is a verse to remember: “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.” (1 John 4:18...

Read More

Passover is all about how God

Passover is all about how God

“I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God.” Exodus 6:6-7a (NIV)   Passover is all about how God sets his people free and, in the Passover meal, we see the four promises that God makes to set his people free. Easter is a celebration of God’s promises, that through Jesus, God sets us free: “So if the Son sets you free, you are free through and through.” (John 8:36 Msg) The Passover meal begins with the first cup called the cup of sanctification.  You would recite a blessing: “Blessed be the God, the maker of the universe and the creator of the fruit of the vine.” And then you would drink from the cup. This prayer, the Kadaysh, and this cup reminded people that they were sanctified, meaning they were set apart for God’s purposes, set apart for God’s love, set apart because of what he wants to do in our lives. God set the people of Israel free, set them apart and freed them from slavery. Jesus wants to set you free; he wants to set you apart too: “I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. May God himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23a Msg) Holy means set apart — God wants to make you holy and he wants to make you whole.  If you look at your life this last week, this last month, this last year and you think there is nothing in me that could connect with God, God says, ‘No, I want to set you apart to be person I want you to be. I want to free you for the purposes I made you for.’ Now, I get it.  I understand. You look at your life and you get frustrated.  I do too.  ‘Why can’t I do what I want to do when I want to do it?’ ‘Why do I find myself doing what I don’t want to do when I don’t want to do it?’ That’s why Jesus wants to set you free – not only to begin in a new life, but also to set you free from the guilt from your faults and failures. Jesus says if you’ll come to me, you’ll be free through and through. This cup of sanctification is a picture of our sanctification, the way that Jesus...

Read More

Father, Forgive Them

Father, Forgive Them

“Father, Forgive Them” The dialogue that Friday morning was bitter. From the onlookers, “Come down from the cross if you are the Son of God!” From the religious leaders, “He saved others but he can’t save himself.” From the soldiers, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.” Bitter words. Acidic with sarcasm. Hateful. Irreverent. Wasn’t it enough that he was being crucified? Wasn’t it enough that he was being shamed as a criminal? Were the nails insufficient? Was the crown of thorns too soft? Had the flogging been too short? For some, apparently so… Of all the scenes around the cross, this one angers me the most. What kind of people, I ask myself, would mock a dying man? Who would be so base as to pour the salt of scorn upon open wounds? How low and perverted to sneer at one who is laced with pain… The words thrown that day were meant to wound. And there is nothing more painful than words meant to hurt… If you have suffered or are suffering because of someone else’s words, you’ll be glad to know that there is a balm for this laceration. Meditate on these words from 1 Peter 2:23 (NIV): “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.” Did you see what Jesus did not do? He did not retaliate. He did not bite back. He did not say, “I’ll get you!” “Come on up here and say that to my face!” “Just wait until after the resurrection, buddy!” No, these statements were not found on Christ’s lips. Did you see what Jesus did do? He “entrusted himself to him who judges justly.” Or said more simply, he left the judging to God. He did not take on the task of seeking revenge. He demanded no apology. He hired no bounty hunters and sent out no posse. He, to the astounding contrary, spoke on their defense. “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”? (Luke 23:34 NIV)… “they don’t know what they are doing.” And when you think about it, they didn’t. They hadn’t the faintest idea what they were doing. They were a stir-crazy mob, mad at something they couldn’t see so they took it out on, of all people, God. But they didn’t know what they were doing. Yes, the dialogue that Friday morning was bitter. The verbal stones were meant to sting. How Jesus, with a body wracked with pain, eyes blinded by his own blood, and lungs yearning for air, could speak on...

Read More

Who Could Use Your Encouragement Today?

Who Could Use Your Encouragement Today?

So then, we must pursue what promotes peace and what builds up one another. Romans 14:19 (HCSB) • God wants us to build one another up — The word support literally means to increase one another’s potential. It carries the idea of strengthening one another, to make one another more able to face the challenges of living for Christ. “We are in this fight together” (Philippians 1:30 NLT). We cannot afford to lose anyone. To succeed, you need the strength supplied by the Body of Christ, just as they need you. • God wants us to stand along side one another — “Encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 11:25, NIV). God does this for us. He “supports us in every hardship, so that we are able to come to the support of others, in every hardship of theirs because of the encouragement that we ourselves receive from God” (2 Corinthians 1:14). We’re created to stand along side one another. • God wants us be patient with one another — When we support one another, we express unconditional love. Even after we grow close enough to each other to learn one another’s quirks and annoying little habits, we will stick by each other’s side. “With all humility and gentleness, and with patience, support each other in love” (Ephesians 4:2 NJB). Is there someone who could use your encouragement today? Don’t wait until later! Encourage them...

Read More

Jesus Accepted You; Now You Accept Others

Jesus Accepted You; Now You Accept Others

So reach out and welcome one another to God’s glory. Jesus did it; now you do it! Romans 15:7 (MSG)   God wants you to accept others in the same way that Jesus accepted you. In faith, we accepted God’s acceptance of us – through Christ – when we were unacceptable, and so we love God by freely offering the same gift – His acceptance – to others. To love God and to be to others what He is to us … We must be willing to be for others — God’s life is a life for others. He always is and does what is best for others. He has a non-selective love for all others. To love God is to have — in faith — a non-selective readiness to be for others … all others … any specific other God sends your way. We must see others as God sees them — True love, God’s love, is not blind. It sees what those living for themselves do not see. We set aside our judgments in order to “see what eyes have not seen and ears cannot hear” (I Cor. 2:9) so we can help those in...

Read More

The Great Omission

The Great Omission

Among the last words Jesus gave His followers are those known as “The Great Commission.” He instructed His followers to, “Go into all the world and make disciples of the nations…teaching them to observe all things whatsoever He had commanded them.” It is obvious believers have failed to fulfill the Great Commission because of a Great Omission. We have gone forth preaching and proclaiming the Gospel, but not necessarily teaching the importance of becoming disciples of Jesus. Too often we have omitted the truly weightier matters of the Word. Christians are failing to grow in the grace they were born into and do not live under the influence of this transforming power in the here and now. Jesus told perhaps the most religious person He ever encountered, Nicodemus, he would never enter heaven (future) or have life now unless he was “born from above.” Jesus was describing a supernatural birth. The result of this spiritual birth creates in the heart a desire to be fruitful. Any lack of desire on the part of professing church members to be fruitful is a legitimate reason to “examine yourself whether you be of the faith.” Believers are misguided when they try to be like other church members rather than holding on to Jesus. Jesus said, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.” (John 15:3-8) There is no clearer evidence of spiritual birth than the desire to know and please our heavenly Father.When born again believers are challenged to become Christ-like, there is a supernatural witness within their heart. The garden of God longs for the light of His presence and the water of His Word necessary to be fruitful. Pastors and church leaders must encourage this desire. We have substituted the commission to “make disciples” with “making church members.” Membership has been substituted for relationship. People are misled into becoming part of an organization rather than part of a living organism – the church, the very Body of Christ. The light of God’s glory, grace and truth is consistently hidden by conformity, comfort and compromise. Without question, far too many professing to be Christians...

Read More

If Jesus was on Facebook, who would be on his friends list?

If Jesus was on Facebook, who would be on his friends list?

I can remember a number of years ago when somebody told me there was going to be an information superhighway and how revolutionary it was going to be. I thought to myself, That sounds like a crazy and unrealistic possibility. How wrong I was. I admit that I am not technologically up to speed. I have, however, learned to use an iPad—barely. I can look at my calendar, and retrieve phone numbers and addresses from my list of contacts. Our grandchildren were surprised and some thought it was awesome when they got a text message from their Papaw’s cell phone. I think it put them in a brief moment of shock, but they were thrilled to respond. Now we are actually following our family and some very close friends on Facebook. Betty is the one who utilizes it every day. Betty loves to follow our grandchildren. She checks daily for family-related pictures our children may post. We’re both thrilled to see the inspirational comments, including many Scripture passages that our family posts on their page. (Please caution all family members that they will likely receive requests from people they should not and must not accept.) Time magazine named Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg as its “Person of the Year” in 2010. The article about him is fascinating (Time, Dec. 15, 2010). It states that one out of every 12 people on the planet uses Facebook, with 700,000 new members joining each day. (We encourage you to connect with Scriptures and Quotes at http://www.facebook.com/Scriptures. I often post Scriptures and Quotes I hope you’ll find meaningful.) In seven years, Zuckerberg created a social network almost twice as large as the United States. Nearly half of all Americans are on Facebook—and even more significantly, 70% of all Facebook users live outside the United States. It’s a global phenomenon. Zuckerberg’s success is undeniable, and I have heard nothing concerning his faith or a relationship with God. As I do for all people who obviously are in a position of influence, I pray that some co-worker or employee will effectively share Christ with this gifted entrepreneur. Now the important question: If Jesus was on Facebook, who would be on his friends list? Would you? We should all want to be! Because of his faith, Abraham was referred to as “a friend of God.” Jesus spoke very clearly concerning those He would call friends. When challenging His disciples to be fruitful by abiding in Him, keeping His commandments in order that His joy would be in them and the joy would be made full, He was very specific in the next verses: “This is my commandment, that you love one another,...

Read More

Go in Grace, but Change Your Life

Go in Grace, but Change Your Life

I do not condemn you either. Go, but do not sin again. John 8:11 (TEV)   Grace is meant to justify the sinner – ‘Go and sin no more.’ Grace is never meant to justify our sins – ‘Everything is forgiven, so you can stay as you are.’ In other words, the grace of God is not a cosmic ‘get out of jail free’ card. Grace is given freely, but it cost Jesus a bloody price to offer it to us: “Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ.” (Ephesians 2:13 NLT) Grace is given freely, but to walk in grace with Jesus will cost us everything as we join Jesus in “the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.” (Ephesians 2:10 MSG) Jesus rescued the woman caught in adultery from certain death, but his expectation was that her life would change immediately. To return to her old life would have mocked the very grace that Jesus offered her that day. His expectation of a changed life is no different for us: Go in my grace, and sin no...

Read More

You Matter to God

You Matter to God

“When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.’ … All the people saw this and began to mutter, ‘He has gone to be the guest of a “sinner.”’” Luke 19:5-7 (NIV)   Have you noticed that it was Jesus’ dinners with sinners that always got him into trouble? He was always getting into hot water with the religious people because he was always hanging out with the wrong crowd. Can you imagine what bloggers would say today about Jesus having dinner with Zacchaeus, a corrupt politician? Guilt by association is one of the favorite tactics of critics today. I’ve often faced accusations because of some of the people I’ve been seen hanging out with. I hang out with these people because I’m an evangelist. My goal is to build a bridge between my heart and the hearts of unbelievers, a bridge of love that Jesus can use to reach them. Jesus came to earth for the sick, the broken, and the insecure people that the religious people wanted to ignore. He came to fill their deepest need with his love. One of our deepest needs in life is to feel secure, to feel valuable, to feel acceptance. Because of this we are constantly doing two things – evaluating and comparing. We do this all the time, consciously and unconsciously. We judge ourselves by one of the world’s four standards that don’t matter: Appearance. How do I look? This mentality says that the more beautiful you are, the more important and more valuable you are. Affluence. If I own a lot, then I must be worth a lot. Achievement. Do you base your value on your awards, notoriety, and promotions? Approval. How many people like me? How popular am I? The problem with this value system is that it’s not stable. Beauty fades with age; possessions wear out; someone else will surpassed your successes; and not everyone will like you. Studies show that you tend to base your self-esteem on what you think the most important person in our life thinks about you. So I recommend you make Jesus Christ the most important person in your life because he will always tell you the truth. The only solid foundation for self-worth is to realize how much you matter to God. When you see yourself the way God sees you, it will transform...

Read More
Page 2 of 512345

content top