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March 30, 2017, 3:21 PM

A Heart for the Hurting and Needy

“Jesus Wept.” John 11:35

Two words that I never expected to hear or read.  I remember vividly as a child the first time I heard this verse.  I thought, “Jesus Cried?” 

Now as an adult, I am still shocked by them.  Not because I think Jesus was unfeeling, but because I know that the original audience of John, was primarily Greek.  The god’s weren’t supposed to show this kind of emotion towards their human subjects.  

But when I read this verse or hear these words, I am never able to keep from seeing an image of Jesus face, with tears streaming down it.  

What an image of a loving, compassionate Savior!

In context, Jesus probably wept for two reasons:

1.  He wept because his friends were grieving over the loss of Lazarus.  Jesus was not weeping because of the loss of Jesus, because He knew what He was going to do in raising him from the dead.  But he wept because he hurt at seeing his friends hurting.  He is an all feeling God that knows our pain and hurts with us when we endure difficulty.  

2.  He wept at the lack of faith of those around Him.  People were questioning why Jesus, a man who could heal the blind and make the lame walk again, would let someone he love die.  Yet Jesus knew the reality of what was about to happen.  He knew that by letting Lazarus die, that His miracle of raising him from the dead would be greater than any previous miracle of healing. 

We like Jesus must have compassion on the hurting and needy.  We must not allow ourselves to become cold to the hurts, pains, and troubles that are caused by sin and a world cursed by sin.  We like Jesus must act (according to the will of God) to do what we can to show the love and compassion of Christ.  

But we also must be moved to action by the lack of faith in God.  We must never grow cold to the greatest need this world has:  A saving Faith in a loving God.  Our actions and compassion must point to the Savior!  There is a reason we love.  There is a reason we care.  It is because God first loved us and sent His Son to die for us on the cross, and having been saved we are commanded to love others.  

Yes we must hurt and weep for those that are hurting.  But we must also hurt and weep for those that are in need of more than just physical healing, but a eternal spiritual healing that only Jesus Christ can give.  

March 29, 2017, 11:50 AM

Leave the Past Where It Belongs

“...but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,” Philippians 3:13

Have you ever regretted anything?  Is there something you regret now?

Missed opportunities.  Mistakes.  Bad decisions. Ignorance.  Willful disobedience.  Consequences.  The unfairness of life.

There are plenty of things that can cause us to live with regret.  Most of us have struggled with a regret at some point or another.  We can easily think back to some decision when we went left instead of going right.  We sometimes dwell on the...”what if...”  

Occasionally it is good to look back and remember.  it is important that we glance back so that we can learn from mistakes along the way and learn from them while remembering we don’t want to make those mistakes again.  We can learn from our past mistakes just as we can learn from past successes and how God delivered us from past mistakes and received forgiveness from them.  

“If you spend to much time staring at the rear view mirror, you are destined for a car wreck.”

But too often we get stuck dwelling on the past.  While some regret is understandable, that does not mean it is helpful.  We can’t change the past no matter how much time we spend dwelling on it and God is calling for us to go forward with him into the future.  

The Truth is, regret is one of Satan’s strongest tools in wreaking damage and destruction in the lives of believers.  He wants to distract, sidetrack, and discourage us to the point of inaction and disability.  He wants us to be stuck in the past, feeling guilty over the past.  He lies to us about God’s ability to forgive and redeem us and use us despite our flaws.  

Nothing can be farther from the truth.  The Devil is a liar and the father of lies.  He wants to ruin and destroy, but Christ came that we may have life and victory.    We can live in the light of hope that Christ provides and we can move forward forgiven, useful and free of guilt and regret.  

By God’s grace, you don’t have to be stuck in the past.  You don’t have to be overwhelmed with regret.  God loves you and does not want you there.  

God wants you to walk with Him each step of the way day by day.  And when you fall He is there to pick you up, dust you off and help you leave the past, where it belongs.  

March 28, 2017, 11:57 AM

An Unfair Exchange

"He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” II Corinthians 5:21

"Whenever you think, that life is not fair; think of the cross of Christ.”

The cross of Christ was the scene of the greatest exchange in history.  Jesus was not just arrested, beaten, spit upon, and crucified to die as a martyr...

He died as the substitute for all who will believe, repent, and call on Him as Lord and Savior!  He became sin, for us.  

That means that He carried all of our sins and buried them in the grave and left them in Hell.  Every sin you can possibly imagine, and even the ones you cannot bring yourself to fathom was laid on Him who knew no sin.  

Every lie, murder, act of bullying, sexual sin, pride, every evil, lust, rebellion, selfishness, hatred, violence, every self-righteous and self indulgent act, everything...anything that is opposite of Godliness and God Himself was laid on Christ and was paid for once and for all.  

But that is not even the whole story or even the best part.  

When Jesus died on the cross and was raised to life again it was proof and validation from God that He accepted the sacrificial death of His Son.  Every past, present, and future sin has had it’s debt paid in full and is available to be forgiven.  

In order to get this forgiveness you simply have to believe on Jesus Christ as God and Savior, and repent (turn away from sin).  

You see there is where the unfair exchange takes place.  God took all of your sin (all the sin of the whole world) and laid it in one lump sum on Jesus and then  for all who will believe he exchanges that sin for Christ’s righteousness.  

Righteousness is simply the quality of being good enough for God.  When we believe by faith and call on God and repent of our sin and accept the payment of Christ in our place then God no longer measures us by our own merits but measures us and accepts us based on the righteousness of Christ.  He exchanges our “un-worthiness” for Christ’s “Worthiness!”

In Christ alone you are worthy of God’s love and forgiveness forever.  

The more we understand it, the more we will live it day by day.  The more we live it day by day the more thankful we will be.  

The gospel of grace offers the good news that a  Worthy Substitute willingly died in your place and in mine and exchanged His righteousness for our filthy rags.  

Celebrate that!  Believe that!  Suddenly the expression “life’s not fair” takes on a whole new meaning.  

March 21, 2017, 4:49 PM

Hope that Holds on to You!

Hope is a good thing.  

Hope is a good thing to have.  

Hope is a good thing to hold on to.  

We can hope for something, or we can put our hope in someone. 

Hope can be a great thing.  It can be something to live for and something to help see you through a trying time.  We can hope for ourselves or for someone we care about to succeed and accomplish goals or a dream.  

Hope can be a good thing

Unless what or who you are hoping in or for fails.  Then it is depressing and even soul crushing.  When something or someone in which you have placed your hope does not fulfill that hope it can be as bad as never having had hope to begin with.

But when your hope is Christ.  Hope never fails.  Because Christ never has never failed, nor will He ever fail.  

Hope in God is a well placed hope that is more than something you can hold on to it good times and bad, it is a hope that holds on to you.  

When your hope is found in God and His Son Jesus Christ, there is a hope that is eternal, never failing and all sufficient.  

If your faith is in Christ Jesus as Savior, then you have an eternal hope that is sure and a firm foundation because it is already set.  It is fulfilled, it cannot fail.  

Christ has already paid the price so that your hope in Him will set you free to live for Him and free to live with Him in eternity.  

You don’t have to worry about hope not being enough when your hope is in the Lord!

“Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entirety into that within the veil;” - Hebrews 6:19

Turn to Jesus.  Let the Love and hope of God hold on to you. 

#hope #salvation #God #jesus

March 16, 2017, 2:51 PM

For Better Reception...Adjust Your Satellite.

“And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at the other times, Samuel,Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak, for Thy servant heareth.” 

- I Samuel 3:10

Is that you, Lord?

Lilly Tomlin once said:  “Why is it that when we speak to God, we’re said to be praying, but when God speaks to us, we’re said to be Schizophrenic?”

When we pray, most of us believe, or at least hope, that God is listening and hears us.  But, not many of us expect God to answer us back?  

Prayer is a two way street.  It is a part of the fellowship relationship that we have with God.  When we pray we aught not only ask for our wants andneeds, express our fears, or list our complaints, but we aught to pray to praise Him, and just talk to God like would a friend.  When we talk to God we aught to expect Him to talk to us.  But, when He doesn’t or we don’t hear Him, then what do we do?  If we don’t ever hear God speaking to us is it because there is a  problem?  Is there something we can do to ensure we hear from God?

In I Samuel, God chose not to speak to Eli, the high priest, but to Samuel, an innocent, humble, little boy.  Samuel did not at first realize that it was God that was speaking.  Much can be learned from this passage of scripture.

First, in order to hear from God, make sure your spiritual satellite is pointed in the right direction.  You won’t hear from God through the latest talk shows, sitcoms, or the latest magazine at the check out counter.  God’s written Word is the final word.  The more spiritual disciplines you practice in your life, the greater the likelihood that God will speak to you and that you will hear Him.  

Read the Word of God, pray, submit to His will (whatever it is), worship, and tithe.  Think of these as channels of obedience in which you can hear God speak.  

Make sure there is nothing between your satellite dish of your heart and His signal.  Trees of sin, or mountains of unbelief can block the signal and prevent you from clearly hearing from God.  If there is something in the way, remove it out of way.  Do whatever it takes to get a clear signal and your heart pointed in the right direction.  Real life cannot be navigated until you are hearing from the control tower.  

Put yourself in the position to hear God speak each day.   Expect God to speak each day.  A relationship with God through Christ is how you grow as a Christian.  Good communication is part of any real, loving relationship.  

Samuel was willing to hear, Samuel was desiring to hear, and He did what it took to hear.  And,God spoke clearly.  

Adjust your heart’s satellite and adjust your reception to the Word from God.  

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