Thursday, March 28, 2013

God's strength demonstrated by His forgiveness

Somehow I was able to rouse myself out of bed and go for a walk this morning at 6:30.  (Keep in mind, in Minnesota it's still below freezing in the morning.)  But what a glorious morning... crisp air, clear sky, the sun not quite at the horizon, and the cardinals calling to each other... a great way to start the day!

On my walk I was thinking about God and how good He is... how much He loved us, that He sent His Son—Jesus—to pay the penalty for our sins (He never sinned!) by dying on the cross WHILE we were still sinners [see Romans 5:8].  What other god would do that?!

You see, that's where God really displays His power.  Any other god would pulverize a wrong-doer.  Not our God—He shows His great strength in forgiving those who've done wrong!

I can't figure out where the image of God got distorted along the way—how did God come to be portrayed as this Big Drill Sergent in the Sky, just waiting for humans to screw up so He could hurl lightning bolts down on them?

The God of the Bible is a loving God!  And here's how we know.  The truth is, we have all wronged Him...

For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. (Romans 3:23, NLT)

But God made a way for us to be "made right" with Him...

The payment for sin is death, but the gift that God freely gives is everlasting life found in Christ Jesus our Lord.  (Romans 6:23, GW)

That's great news!  But it's not enough to just acknowledge that Jesus lived...

You believe there is one God. That’s good, but even the demons believe that! And they shake with fear.  (James 2:19, ERV)
...we need to place our faith in Him:
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved ... For "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."  (Romans 10:9, 10, 13, NLT)
We do that by acknowledging (through prayer—just talking to God!) that we are sinners and that we deserve death, but believing that Jesus died on the cross to save us from the penalty of our sin, and then receiving His free gift of salvation!

But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. (John 1:12, NLT)

From there we turn away from our old life of sin to a new life in Christ:

Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! (2 Corinthians 5:17, MSG)

When we trust Jesus to save us, this makes us God's children!  And He was glad to adopt us!!

God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. (Ephesians 1:5, NLT)

All of this is what gives my life meaning and purpose.  The God who made heaven and earth LOVES YOU and ME—and He wants to be near us!  But He is a gentleman—He won't force Himself on anyone... He will only come when we invite Him.

Won't you call on Him today?  He'd love to hear from you...

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Life: interrupted

My whole life I have been complaining that my work was constantly interrupted, until I discovered the interruptions were my work.

-Henri Nouwen

Friday, March 15, 2013

Perspective: life is short

“Teach us to number our days,

that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

Psalm 90:12

Lord, my time on earth is short, and I want to make it count. Help me today to do the things that honor You and benefit others.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

How many times

Standing on a road I didn't plan
Wondering how I got to where I am
I'm trying to hear that Still Small Voice
I'm trying to hear above the noise

How many times have You heard me cry out
"God please take this"
How many times have You given me strength to
Just keep breathing
Oh I need You
God, I need You now

-Plumb, Need You Now