Tag Archive | love

Jesus is there!

Isn’t it a mystery how you can read a passage of scripture dozens of times when all of a sudden a sentence will jump out at you as if highlighted, and you’ll wonder – “Why did I not see that before!”  This is the absolute miracle of the Word of God, it is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword!  The words etched on these pages are not dead, they are not passive or lifeless, but alive, endless, they have a power of their own!

While reading Luke 22, the story where Peter denied Jesus three times, I noticed a few details that I hadn’t seen before.  One small sentence containing eight little words!  “Then after about an hour had passed, another confidently affirmed, saying, “Surely this fellow also was with Him, for he is a Galilean.” But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are saying!”  Immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter.”

“And the Lord turned and looked at Peter!” The Lord was there!  The Lord heard each and every denial Peter made, one blow to His heart after another.  The Lord heard every defiant renunciation that fell from Peter’s lips.  How did I miss this, how did I miss the fact that Satan sifted him right in front of Jesus?!  Oh how that must have stung, how personal and painful this particular rejection!  And from Peter too – the one who knew that Jesus was the Messiah!  The one on whom Christ promised to build His church.  But even more than that, this denial came from one of His closest friends!

The Lord turned and looked at Peter – a look of compassion, a look filled with love and a look of understanding.  It was this look that broke Peter causing him to weep bitterly, this look that finally brought Peter to the end of himself.  If Peter had not been completely broken he could not have been completely transformed.  Wholly changed.  Peter’s transformation was so dramatic that he did indeed become the rock on which God’s church was built, bringing the gospel to the gentiles.  He died a martyr’s death being crucified upside down upon a cross. 

Of course Jesus was there!  He always is.  He is always standing beside you, watching over you, taking care of you, looking upon you with a love that is simply never ending.  He is there in the good times and the hard ones.  He is there when you fail, when you stumble, flounder, or fall.  He sees the potential within you and believes wholeheartedly in you.  He knows that when you come to the end of yourself, then His story can begin in you.  The purposes and works that He has planned for you can begin and be established.  When you find yourself at the end of your rope, remember, Jesus is always there.  Where else would He be?!

Judgement

I get a little bothered when people talk about God’s judgement.  All the hurricanes, fires, earthquakes and calamity that is occurring worldwide is God’s judgement upon us – I don’t think so!  This certainly does not fit into the character of the God I love and serve.

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“Hurricane Harvey is God’s judgement upon America!”  Not!  This simply rubs me the wrong way.  It’s just not biblical.  Why do people always say it’s God’s judgement from devastating fires to personal hardship?  Do we just not know our God well enough?

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Now Abraham, here is a man who knew His God!  God came down and told Abraham that He was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah because their sin was so great,  there was an outcry calling for God’s judgement on the city.  Abraham was moved with compassion for the righteous that were left in Sodom and Gomorrah, thinking too of his nephew Lot, and he began to beseech to the Lord: “Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked; far be it from You!  Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?”  Genesis 18:25.  Abraham knew that God is a righteous God, a just God, and would not punish the innocent the same way as the guilty!

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In the end there was only one righteous man in Sodom, and that was Lot.  Before the righteous judgement of God was rained down upon the city, the Lord led that one righteous man out.  “Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?”

The word for right in the Hebrew is ‘mishpat’ which means; justice, act of deciding a case, right, proper or fitting.  Mishpat is used interchangeably throughout the Old Testament as justice or righteousness.  Micah 6:8, a well known verse, says: “And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly (mishpat), to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”  The Lord requires you to do what is right!  Just as the Father is a righteous God and will always do what is right.

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I love the scripture in Psalm 33:4 that tells us, “For the Lord’s decrees are just and everything He does is fair.”  The New Testament goes on to tell us more about the judgement of God.  Acts 17:31 says, “because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness, through a man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”  There will be a day of judgement and God will judge the world through His Son, Jesus Christ.  God the Father himself will not be the one who judges mankind, but the Son himself.  “For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgement to the Son.”  John 5:22.  These are the words of Jesus himself.

When Jesus hung upon that cross, dying that painful death for all mankind, the full wrath of God was poured out upon Him.  He took our punishment, God’s judgement was spilled upon Him for you and for me, once and for all, and now we stand righteous through Christ.  If we believe that our Father pours out judgement and wrath upon us in the form of disasters and terrifying tragedies, then are we believing that He did not pour out His full judgement upon His Son, wouldn’t that negate the cross?  Would this not detract from the full miracle of Christ dying for us, of God’s judgement and wrath poured out on the Son, so that on the appointed day of judgement we can stand clean before the Lord, washed white in the blood of the Lamb?  

Do we run the risk of looking at the great sin of the world and thinking, “if I was God I would visit my anger upon them?”  In turn justifying that this must be what God is doing…  We become the judge of the sin in this world and consider our anger righteous.  God’s word says, “So then my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”

Let’s become people who speak less and listen more.  Let us hear the pain of those dying and not condemn them to our judgement.  Let’s rejoice in the character of Almighty God who is all at once righteous, fair , good and kind.  Who has made a way for us, so that we don’t have to come under the wrath and judgement of God.

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Abundance

 

In John 10:10 we read the words of Jesus; “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I come that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”   What is it that Jesus wants to give us that the enemy so desperately wants to steal?  Jesus wants to give us life and life abundantly! This abundant life is certainly not about more stuff, more attention, more power or more thrills.  Those are just distractions, a carnal definition of the abundant life!

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King Solomon, in all his wisdom, said it this way; “So I became great and excelled more than all who were before me in Jerusalem.  Also my wisdom remained with me.  Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them.  I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart rejoiced in all my labor, and this was my reward from my labor.  I looked on all the works that my hands had done and on the labor in which I had toiled; and indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind.  There was no profit under the sun.”  Eccl 2:9-11  All was vanity, and Solomon had it all but soon discovered, this was not the abundant life.

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Abundant life in Christ is, the surety of our salvation, freedom from death, freedom from fear, freedom from prejudice, freedom from the one who would whisper in your ear and steal your joy.  It is beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, it is love, joy, and peace – oodles of it!  Patience! Kindness and gentleness in abundance.  All. The. Time.  Not just when things are going well.  In abundance.  

 

The Greek word for abundance is ‘perrissos’ meaning, exceeding some measure or number, over and above, more than is necessary, superadded, extraordinary, surpassing, more remarkable and more excellent.  Your God wants you to live a remarkable and excellent life!  He wants to give you an extraordinary life that surpasses all your expectations!  Doesn’t His Word say; “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.”

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When you look deeper at the word for abundance, what you find will astound you!  The root word for abundance is ‘piero’, meaning to pierce.  That stopped me in my tracks, overwhelming me, bringing tears to my eyes.  Jesus, the Son of God, was pierced for me, over and over again.  Pierced as that whip bit into his flesh, pierced as they hammered those nails into his beautiful feet and loving hands.  Pierced as they stabbed a sword into His side.  At any time He could simply have stepped off that cross, after all, He is God.  But His love for you kept Him there, he went over and above, surpassing what was necessary, so that you could have an abundant life!  Now that is abundant love!  Going exceedingly beyond, for you.  Extraordinary!

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This is the life He wants to give you, in abundance.  Without Christ, life has no meaning, there is no abundant life.  

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