Posted in Accountability, God, Honor, Jesus Christ, Life, Relationships, Resurrection

Does your life put Christ in a place of honor?

honorHonor is a funny thing in our society. Normally it is given to those who have earned it. It was never designed to be given simply due to a title — it was something to be acquired.

We honor judges, politicians, clergy, successful businessman and public officials all because of the service they give. We honor fathers and mothers mostly because the bible tells us so and we even honor our spouses — sometimes whether they deserve it or not. Teachers are honored, seniors are honored and even a person who has done a good deed can get our honor.

Honor is a good name or public reputation. It’s a showing of usually respect:recognition. A privilege. One who’s worth brings respect or fame. Credit. So now chew on this:

Romans 5:10 says, “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”

We know that Christ died, “while we were sinners” and “while we were without strength”. His death, burial and resurrection which are the very facts of his gospel had a profound effect on our place of honor on judgement day.

You see, his death (shedding of his blood) cleansed our sins and made reconciliation possible. For now God can begin a new relationship with us because of that death. His burial was just as important as it serves as the launch pad for resurrection. You have to have a death and burial or else there is no need for a resurrection. Baptism serves as our burial (launch pad) today as anyone who believes on Jesus and is baptized shall receive a resurrection.

Romans 6:4 says, “therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so, we also should walk in newness of life.”

The last part is the resurrection or newness of life. Jesus’ life is what actually saves us (re: Romans 5:10). We are baptized into his death and are resurrected into his life. So that when God judges me, it will be on the merits of Christ’s life and not my own. His life was perfect and my life will be his. This is what is meant in Gal. 2:20 when it says “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, not I, but Christ lives in me.” Gee, I wonder how that happened?

So, I have been placed in a position of honor by God and I am now to live a life worthy of the honor I have been given. I have been accepted in the beloved and because of grace that is where I shall stay. The life that I now live in the flesh is a life lived by faith in the son of God who has loved me and gave himself for me!

If I really understand this, then my life must honor his gospel. If I am to take my place in glory it will only be because I demonstrated my understanding of what Christ did for me by my life. There is no greater honor than this.

Posted in Children, Confidence, Discipleship, Faith, Forgiveness, Giving, God, God's Promises, Happiness, Jesus Christ, Justice, Life, Love, Resurrection, Sharing, society, Success, Truth

Jesus — the way, truth, life (Part 3)

TheWayTruthLife10What is your life worth?

Each year thousands of people commit suicide because they don’t see their worth. We go through life trying to prove to ourselves that we are worth something. We put in overtime with our jobs, we help out when we can and we even give money away to prove our worth. Kids in school are troubled by bullies who point out all of their flaws. They take to heart everything negatively that is said to them without regard for the good things. When kids (and adults) are faced with these type of challenges it seems as though the only option is to stay at home and cry.

Many people are walking around desiring to be with someone that will give them more self-esteem credits. Each time they date and get hurt, they lower their standards more and more in an attempt to lessen the pain. They end up settling for “G” candidate thinking that they are not worthy of the “A” candidate. Furthermore, in America we spend money. Everything revolves around money so it stands to reason that value would be placed on everything here. Our lives should not be for sale. It’s tough when ad campaigns tell you that you are too fat, too dark, too skinny, too short or your hair is not good enough, your feet are too big or even your teeth aren’t white enough. Plastic surgery is a billion dollar industry. Low self-esteem doesn’t care how much money you have or what color you are. As a result we really don’t know who we are.

Thank God for Jesus! You see, he placed value on all of us when he died on the cross for the sins of the world. Through his sacrifice he is trying to tell us that we have value. His actions prove we have worth — why else would the Son of God waste his time on us? If John 3:16 is correct (and it is!) then God loved us and was eager to save us. He sent his son to die for the sins of the world and simply says let me give you rest.

Dear readers, I hope you know that there is no better life than one spent serving the Lord and enjoying the blessings he gives us. To live a life reciprocating the love God thrusts toward us is clearly an abundant life. Jesus said that he is the way, the truth and the life and he is right. There is no way to the father except by the mediator he chose and that is Christ.

Help me spread the word that salvation has been brought down to earth and by it God has added value to every life. All we have to do now is live like it!

Posted in Change, Confidence, Discipleship, Faith, Forgiveness, Free Will, God's Promises, Happiness, helping, Jesus Christ, Life, Relationships, Resurrection, Truth

Jesus — The Resurrection and the Life

20130223-010914.jpgA family of five, living in a studio apartment full of little critters running around, is no way to live life. An 11 year old, having to worry about whether or not an adult will make sexual advances on him or her tonight, is no way to live either. Nor is it cool that a single mother, working three jobs to make ends meet, gets her 4 kids taken away because someone called child protective services after discovering they were left alone at home a few hours a day.

We get so caught up in living life and gathering things. We define ourselves by the things we have accumulated and none of these things mean anything when we’re dead. We spend a lot of time being angry and frustrated when things don’t go our way. We hold grudges and seek revenge and will go to great lengths to get even. We are overweight, sleep deprived and need assistance from the pharmaceutical industry just to keep up. For all these things to be temporal, why do we place such value on them?

Jesus made this statement in John 11:25, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live…” I wonder how many people truly understand and are comforted by these words? With these statements Jesus has changed the game.

He’s taken the focus off of the now and placed it on the eternal. If there is anyone watching the big picture here, God has given us an everlasting promise that should make our lives easier. His statements set us free.

We struggle to live life here on earth in such a corruptible state and when our loving savior promises us eternal life it doesn’t appear to be enough. I mean is it enough, dear reader, to make you stop chasing the almighty dollar and begin to covet more spiritual things? Does it make you want to spread love to everyone you meet? Does it make you want to change the game for someone else? Does it even make you want to be a better person — you know, live life because you’re saved and not to earn salvation?

This could be a stab in the dark, but I believe that Jesus actually meant for this to be the best news ever and that his disciples would hear these words and live a celebratory life in honor of His work.

Are we taking his promises for granted?

Posted in Faith, Generosity, God, God's Promises, Happiness, Jesus Christ, Life, Love, Relationships, Resurrection, Sharing, The Family, Truth

Benefits of sitting at His table

20130112-234503.jpgIn the middle of the 23rd Psalm, David writes that the Lord would prepare a table for us in the very presence of our enemies.

The curious student would ask, “well, what’s the benefit of that?” You see, God got real personal about us and the universe knew it. He created us in his image and as the angels stood in amazement at God’s affection toward us, Satan hated it.

He thought if He could only get us to transgress God’s law then God would be forced to kill us or cast us away. This is something Satan knows all too well. Formerly Lucifer, he hoped to strike a blow for his cause. What happens in such cases is that your enemies will strike out against the people you love when they can’t get to you. Satan could not do anything with God on any level. So it stands to reason that he would bother us.

When we stumbled in our garden (yes, everyone has their own garden that they were cast out of when they sinned) the angels didn’t even know that the manifold wisdom of God would be known by the church (Eph. 3:10). So in other words, God had a plan for us before the foundation of the world! His plan was perfect and it was hidden from the universe. His plan was John 3:16!

It wasn’t enough to just save us. God had to restore us. Restoration is still a work in progress for us because it’s something we expect God to do for us, but many of us are still holding grudges against a brother or sister because we’re mad. God’s restoration puts us back where we were — with him!

This is symbolized in the story of Mephibosheth (2 Sam. 9). Remember, he was the grandson of the former King Saul. He should have been put to death as part of the former royal family, but David not only spared him, but restored him to where he would have been if he was king. David understood restoration.

This concept is ever present in the story of the prodigal son ( Luke 15). His father killed the fattest calf for his youngest son who had returned home from learning the most important lesson of his life.

And finally, this concept is symbolized with the taking of the Lord’s Supper. This divine feast is for believers who are continuing in the faith and are looking forward to the coming of the Lord. Jesus designed this Holy feast and it’s more of a demonstration of his love for us in front of the unseen world. It serves as a reminder to evil as to who we belong to. It’s in the presence of our enemies that God showcases our relationship to him. This is when your big brother tells the bully to “back off or else!” This is God’s celebration for our decision to follow him.

This very important table is another step in the direction of making us fear-free. Our God who promised to provide all of our needs according to his riches in glory does not want us fearful. So instead of being afraid, why don’t we simply remember where we sit in Christ and enjoy the feast!

Posted in Generosity, helping, Jesus Christ, Love, Patriotism, Resurrection

Would you dare to die?

I don’t know who first said it, but love is a strange thing. This is a very true saying and when you think of all the things that love was given credit to, you can see how powerful love really is. Love has been the cause of things good and bad. Love has been the cause of wars, suicide, divorce, murder, lies, stealing, cheating and betrayal. It has also been the strength of marriages, the changing of hard hearts to soft hearts and the resurrection of a nation.

Love is pretty powerful. So Veteran’s Day always makes me think of the sacrifices of our armed forces. I think about the fact that even though some soldier who died did not know me — heck, never met me. But he or she risked their very lives so I could feel safe. They didn’t just die for my country, but they died for me.

Jesus died for me in amuch similar fashion. He died so I wouldn’t have too. He fought the battle and shouldered the burden of sin in my stead. There was nothing about me that would make him do this. His death says far more about him than it does me. I believe this statement is true about our veterans.

The bible says: “6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life” (Romans 5:6-10 KJV).

Here’s the point, it is noteworthy that we have men and women filled with so much love that they would be willing to give their life in the ultimate sacrifice. What makes this sacrifice ultimate is that they walk in the footsteps of Jesus. It was the love that God had for us that he gave his son — this started it all.

I am thankful to all our service men and women who answered the call of patriotism and served or is serving our country faithfully. I honor you this week and you are worthy of this praise. God bless you and God bless the United States of America!

Posted in Faith, Forgiveness, Free Will, Jesus Christ, Justice, Resurrection, Uncategorized

On the other side of Jesus


Justice is a hard thing to demand.

 

I mean, how do I have the right to justice when I’m wrong too? Justice is defined as: The quality of being just; fairness. The principle of moral rightness; equity. Conformity to moral rightness in action or attitude; righteousness. I can be righteous … for an hour, a half day, 72 hours maybe. It doesn’t take long for me to end my righteous streak — and that’s the problem.

One of the greatest examples of hypocrisy is for someone to cause harm from being careless. Especially if you catch me on one of my righteous days, I can really stir up trouble and make you feel two inches tall by rebuking your behavior and telling you how wrong you are. I can do this without ever thinking about my unrighteousness.

I’m reminded of the two thieves that were literally hanging with Jesus. The thief on the one side of the savior began to mock him like he heard the crowd do. He said: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!”

Once we reach the other side of Jesus, we get a far different disposition. The thief on the other side of Jesus said, “Don’t you fear God … since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

I want to stay on the other side of Jesus. I want to remember who I am and where I stand before him. I am a sinner saved by grace through faith in Christ Jesus. This salvation is impossible for me to obtain, but it has been gifted to me by the father that I may not brag. I’ve been made over and thank God that JUSTICE has been replaced in my vocabulary with GRACE.

And you only reach this point when you cross over to the other side of Jesus.

Posted in Accountability, Adam and Eve, Change, Discipleship, Faith, Free Will, Garden of Eden, Giving, God, God's Promises, Jesus Christ, Life, Religious Freedom, Resurrection, Truth, Uncategorized

The importance of types in scripture

A few weeks ago, I began teaching a class on types in scripture.  By types I mean that an Old Testament story is somewhat of a mirror to a scenario today. We often don’t associate or connect the Old Testament and the New Testament together this way, but we really should. There is much to be learned by “things written aforetime” (Rom. 15:4).

There are several types portrayed in scripture between the time of Adam and the Law of Moses. I would like to expound on five. First, God’s action toward Adam and Eve in the garden as he made provisions for his people and gave them purpose.  This is something he does for us in Christ today. Christ was our provision and we have a purpose in our life that centers on doing his will. Second, even when God put Adam and Eve out of the garden, he taught them a lesson on the consequences of sin. Because of their sin, something died. Physically, God shed blood from animals to cover their sin. This practice would continue until Christ died on the cross. Many bulls and goats died because of the sins of God’s people. And all that blood could do is what it did on Adam and Eve’s exodus from the garden – cover their sins.

Third, Cain and Abel is one of the oldest lessons in the bible as it relates to man. Abel’s offering was based on God’s revelation; Cain’s offering was based on man’s imagination. This lesson is played out every Sunday as so-called religious people attempt to worship the Father “their” way and not God’s way. Many are responding to the gospel by man’s imagination instead of God’s revelation. This is a powerful lesson that man must learn before Jesus returns.

Forth, Enoch, the bible says, was translated so that he didn’t see death and it was all because of his faith. Our faith works exactly the same way in that Col. 3:13 tells us that we are translated into the kingdom of his dear son because of our faith. Enoch’s testimony will always serve as a wonderful type for us today in that it was said of him before his translation, that he pleased God. We then learn, in  Heb. 11:6, that without faith it’s impossible to please God. Enoch was a man of faith and because of his faith he was translated. And today because of our faith so are we.

Fifth, we have to say a bit about Noah. There are so many types when we discuss Noah. My favorite is the comparison of the Ark to the Church. Both places work much like the inn in the story of the Good Samaritan. The inn was the place where Christ would keep his souls saved until his return. The ark served that purpose and the Church today does as well. Do you see any other types in the bible during the time spanned between Adam and the law Moses gave?