Jesus: God’s Gift to the World

I can not advocate against other religions because I do not know much about them but I can testify the difference that Jesus made and is making. I am deeply intrigued by him because he was so selfless and spoke of a kingdom that was for everyone.

My favorite parable that Jesus told was about the master’s banquet in Luke 14.

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15 When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.”

16 Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. 17 At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’

18 “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’

19 “Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’

20 “Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’

21 “The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’

22 “‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’

23 “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full. 24 I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’”

Do you see this! He said “I have empty seats and I want them full!”

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I will bet the poor were ecstatic and could not believe their good fortune that such a great man was willing to invite them in. He sent his servants into the low places to pull out all of the misfits. Thank God that he does not mind getting his hands dirty to dig us misfits out of the dirt and set us up amongst the King himself.

Even the haters of Jesus could not deny that he was different and they could not shake him. He challenged their religion and tradition. No longer could they use the law to condemn the people. The past could no longer haunt people into hell. No longer could shortcomings hang over your head. Here enters the grace of God, his unmerited favor provided to whosoever. Not a chosen few, but the whole world. No longer was God only portrayed as punisher but as a good father who gives good gifts, specifically the gift of eternal life.

Jesus brought kingdom perspective. Death had its grips on humanity ever since the garden, but then Jesus came and said, “no longer!” Death said, “take a number and get in line.” God said, “here is my son in exchange for eternity with me.” That means that ANYONE can come in and find safety in him.

His name alone freaks opposers out. They say, “call on whomever you will but mum the name of Jesus.” His name alone holds power that can not be contained or controlled. No longer is eternity in the hands of a righteous few, waving it in the air like it is the golden ticket that only they have been lucky enough to find.

The most amazing thing about Jesus is that they had to kill him because they though it would silence the hope that he had given. The plot thickened when he said,  “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” (John 2:19) After three days they thought they could breath a sigh of relief and then he shows up again! He went to his distraught disciple and revealed himself. He even topped himself by promising a piece of himself to all who would receive him.

wp-15325657531452102080866.jpgLuke 24

46 And he said, “Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah would suffer and die and rise from the dead on the third day. 47 It was also written that this message would be proclaimed in the authority of his name to all the nations,[f] beginning in Jerusalem: ‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.’ 48 You are witnesses of all these things.

49 “And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.”

God knows how to top himself. He gave the ultimate gift saying, “here is my son. He will take the punishment although he did not commit the crime.” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

His death did not silence hope but multiplied it tremendously.

 

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My Story in His Story

1532043682135_39052459-15320426131331706681472.jpgWe have to be careful about who we allow to dictate our story. There is only one author but there will always be situations that try to edit your story, trying to add in the parts that tell you who you are, what you can do, where you can not go, when you are most valuable, and why you are not enough.

We can not deviate from the original story and we must be aware that there are counterfeits. They have portions of the truth. But partial truth is a full lie. There are no half truths in God, either it is truth or it is not. They provide a plot twist and will have us distracted from the original blue print God wrote specifically for our lives. Yes things have happened to us (some our fault and others that are not) but they are not who we are.

His story says that I am a victorious . (1 Corinthians 15:57))

His story says that I am healed and whole.(Jeremiah 30:17)

His story says that he will protect me and that I do not have to fear the disaster that comes upon the wicked. (Proverbs 3:25-26)

His story says he will lead me on the path of righteousness for His name’s sake.(Psalm 23:3)

His story says He has plans for me. To give me hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)

His story says that when I wait on Him he will renew my strength. I will mount up on wings like eagles. I will run and not grow weary. I will walk and not grow faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

His story says I am fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)

His story says that I am the head and not the tail. (Deuteronomy 28:13)

His story says He will never leave me or forsake me. (Deuteronomy 31:6)

I am apart of His story.

Be willing to see what His story is for you in the lines of what he has already written. He provided His word for us as a guideline for what our story is supposed to be. Don’t forget where you come from. You are a creation of the all mighty God, created in His likeness and image.

 

 

 

 

 

 

God: Our Rescuer

Let’s face it, there are many problems that we cause for ourselves when we feel like God is moving too slow. Sometimes waiting on God gets us to a place where we feel we need to clock out from him and do things our way. But to be honest those are the moments where we experience extreme setbacks.

In the bible the children of Israel felt this pain. They mixed their company with those who did not serve God and were captivated by the “new way.” It’s funny how being captivated works. Initially it is fun , mesmerizing, and exciting. But at some point you find yourself drawn to it so much and you know its not good for you but here you are again at it. Soon you become a slave to it.

And then there is God who has put his heart on the line for a people who are easily swayed. People who treated him like a revolving door. “I’ll be in when I want but I can walk away without consequences.” FALSE! The very one they walked away from is the one who they called to save them from the thing they had become entangled in.

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I am not blind your distressed, even the ones causes by your own messes.

The best thing about God is that he will rescue you from the problems that you created and love you like it never happened. In fact he forgives and throws them into the depths of the sea. (Micah 7:19 NIV)

I, yes I, am the Lord, and there is no other Savior. First I predicted your rescue, then I saved you and proclaimed it to the world. No foreign god has ever done this. You are witnesses that I am the only God,” says the Lord. “From eternity to eternity I am God. No one can snatch anyone out of my hand. No one can undo what I have done.” (Isaiah 43:11-13)

Tell God How You Feel

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I had a list of complaints tonight as I checked my mail to see that I am still behind financially and have only the promise of increase, one that has yet to be seen. I wanted to appeal my case to God and I though I had a good enough argument until I got to worship rehearsal. The first song declared the greatness of God and how there is none compared to him. During rehearsal there are usually so many technicalities we are trying to work out that it sounds like we are just practicing. But not tonight. As I sang I believed what I was saying and my God perspective rose up and put my problem right back where they belong. Even in my time of need I can still declare God has been better than good to me.

This thought led me to Lamentations 3 where the profit Jeremiah listed his complaints against God. This was not a pretty complaint but one of deep sorrow.

I am the one who has seen the afflictions that come from the rod of the Lord ’s anger. He has led me into darkness, shutting out all light. He has turned his hand against me again and again, all day long. He has made my skin and flesh grow old. He has broken my bones. He has besieged and surrounded me with anguish and distress. He has buried me in a dark place, like those long dead. He has walled me in, and I cannot escape. He has bound me in heavy chains. And though I cry and shout, he has shut out my prayers. He has blocked my way with a high stone wall; he has made my road crooked. He has hidden like a bear or a lion, waiting to attack me. He has dragged me off the path and torn me in pieces, leaving me helpless and devastated. He has drawn his bow and made me the target for his arrows. He shot his arrows deep into my heart. My own people laugh at me. All day long they sing their mocking songs. He has filled me with bitterness and given me a bitter cup of sorrow to drink. He has made me chew on gravel. He has rolled me in the dust. Peace has been stripped away, and I have forgotten what prosperity is. I cry out, “My splendor is gone! Everything I had hoped for from the Lord is lost!” The thought of my suffering and homelessness is bitter beyond words. I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss.
Lamentations 3:1‭-‬21 NLT

What a list! For this we could consider his sorrow valid. Sometimes it is hard to be candid with God because we reverence him. Though he is sovereign he is still father. To our father we can share our concerns. To our father we can make our request known. Even in his dispare Jeremiah still dared to hope.

Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!” The Lord is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him. So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord . And it is good for people to submit at an early age to the yoke of his discipline: Let them sit alone in silence beneath the Lord ’s demands. Let them lie face down in the dust, for there may be hope at last. Let them turn the other cheek to those who strike them and accept the insults of their enemies. For no one is abandoned by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he also shows compassion because of the greatness of his unfailing love. For he does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow.
Lamentations 3:21‭-‬33‬ NLT

Wow! Only worship can get us to a place where we can still put our hope in God. Only by faith can we declare that all things (yes ALL) are working together for our good because we love God and are called according to his purpose.