Jesus Christ…Heard of Him?

Maybe you have never heard about Jesus Christ. This blog is your first-time hearing His name mentioned. Allow me to introduce Jesus Christ to you. One of the biblical authors, the apostle Paul, tells us good news about Jesus Christ. In 1 Corinthians 15:3-5 in the Bible, Paul says,

“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve…”

Jesus was a real human being who lived and died on earth, my friend. This is not a fictional story. John 3:16-17 from the Bible tells us why Jesus came. It says,

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.”

So, you see, Jesus came from God on a mission born out of love. Unlike others, God did not send Jesus to shake His finger in your face to scold you about how “bad” you are, or to stick his nose up at you to show how much your actions “repulse” Him. In fact, the intent was just the opposite. 

Emanating from God’s heart of love for humanity, and His compassion and mercy which He has plenty of, God was
propelled to send His Son, Jesus Christ–to save us from sin. The idea of humanity needing a savior is true. We do! Being “saved” from something suggests a problem or danger exists that we need to be rescued from. There’s
something bad or negative lurking around in the shadows. Right?

Well, yes, there is a danger lurking around in our human hearts and world – it’s called “sin.” Sin is not something God likes or participates in. On the other hand, humans, unfortunately, have a natural proclivity for it. We were born in sin and have the instinct to partake of sin’s fruit. At one point, God recognized how humankind’s proclivity for sin and evil was so great, He relented (or regretted) that He had made mankind. That’s pretty saddening, I’d say. It says, in the first book of the Bible, Genesis chapter 6, verses 5-7,

“But
the Lord saw that the wickedness of humankind had become
great on the earth. Every inclination of
the thoughts of their minds was only evil all the time. The Lord regretted that he
had made humankind on the earth, and he
was highly offended.”

 

We have an opportunity to understand here how God does take issue with sin (the word we hate to say); it is the problem or danger in us that stands in the way of Him and us. It’s in the way of us rightly relating with God because He is Holy and, as the younger generation would say, He’s “all good.” Yes, God is good and therefore sin must be faced, addressed, and dealt with in order to know Him.

Bing! This is where a Savior is key and Jesus Christ is important to get to know. Jesus Christ stood in the gap for you and me to handle this sin problem that offends God. Sin has a penalty—death–and somebody has to pay a price for it to stay in God’s company. This is what Jesus did. One time, for all, Jesus took the punishment for sin that humanity deserved so that we could become the righteousness of God. Jesus, a good guy, died a criminal’s death on the cross. The Bible says it this way in 2 Corinthians 5:19-21,

“In other words, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting people’s trespasses [sins] against them, and he has given us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making his plea through us. We plead with you on Christ’s behalf, ‘Be reconciled to God!’ 

God made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we would become the righteousness of God.”

The good man Jesus, the Savior, took the fall for the bad guys (you, me, and the rest). We can, however, be reconciled (made right) before God right now and begin a relationship with Him because of the fall Christ took and the price Christ paid on the cross for our sins. Please, do so.

God wants us near and close to Himself, as family members. God, the Father wants you to know and experience His life. Simply believe and receive this truth about his Son, Jesus Christ—that He came as the Savior of the world and died, was buried, and rose again to bring you to God. He was more than just a religious prophet and teacher. In fact, Jesus Christ is the only One who can bring us to share in God’s eternal life, as Acts 4:12 shows us this about Jesus’ name. It says,

“This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, that has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among people by which we must be saved.”

Don’t reject the message about Jesus Christ any longer. It is true. Believe and receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior right now. Ask Him to come into your heart and give you God’s eternal life. Then the truth about what this
eternal life is, as recorded in John 17:3, will immediately begin in you. It says,

Now this is eternal life—that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you sent.

“Welcome…nice to meet you. Please, come in and have a seat at my table,” you will sense God saying, once you do!  😊

 

Let us know if you received God’s life!

 

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Slow Down

Hello. I’m back from my summer break and must say I feel rested and refreshed. I’ve learned it’s okay to put things aside and rest for a while. This was not always typical of me. I had to always be busy or actively working on or doing something new. I was driven and consumed by success, ambition, making money, climbing the corporate ladder, and getting things right (especially this Christian life)–quick. My drive and what was compelling it, I discovered, had nothing to do with God! My drive was worldly, often fueled by insecurity and wrong motives. I’ve learned and still am learning the importance of slowing down, smelling the flowers, and gaining the right perspective. We’re all familiar with this traffic sign. It alerts drivers to exercise caution in a particular area because pedestrians are walking nearby. Drivers should slow down.

Slowing our pace, pulling away from demands, streamlining expectations, and drawing away from people sometimes must be beneficial for us. Didn’t Jesus do it? Mark 8:35 shows us He did. It says, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Even our Creator, God, after He completed His creative work, rested. Genesis 2-3 tells us, “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” Surely, if Jesus stopped healing, teaching, and preaching to regroup, and God, the Father, rested after work, shouldn’t we do the same?

For twelve years, I’ve been living with multiple sclerosis (MS). Before MS, I was naturally energetic and fast. My brain thought fast. I walked fast. I finished tests and spelled words fast. I typed, prepared documents, and proofread fast! I cleaned the house fast! And still, even now, I respond fast to a crisis. This was me. Fast could have been my nickname. It’s how people may identify me. No doubt, the MS has contributed to my slower pace now, (although my son is constantly alerting me still to, “slow down, Mom”). There was something more, however–besides MS–that triggered in me a need to slow life down. First, the more I experienced God in my life, I realized, unlike our fast-paced American culture and world, God doesn’t always immediately move when I need or want Him to. He doesn’t always quickly respond to my requests. God moves, responds, and acts in His time. This is sometimes difficult for us to grasp, especially when it involves something we believe He could or should have prevented if He would have. However, God’s kingdom is a mystery to us; it does not function or operate as earthly kingdoms. He reveals pieces about it to us little by little, because its ways are foreign to human ways. No one can say they have completely figured God out.

Second, this idea about, “setting our minds on things above, not on earthly things” (Col. 3:2) is not something we immediately comprehend. Ours is a fast-paced, fast answering, fast problem-solving world. Society tells us to “weather the storm” and “keep it moving.” Even as we watch on television the world calamities that happen, we hear news network reporters asking, “How quick was the response? How soon will repairs start? How fast did law enforcement arrive? When will the electricity be restored?” Since information now travels so fast via the internet, satellite, and cell phones, one is thinking, “Wow! Didn’t the catastrophe just happen?” But, this is our world–fast. It was my thinking too.

In my upcoming book, I talk about how as a child I visualized God as a superhero, like Superman, flying through the skies, saving the world from evil. I’ve since grown up and realized, however, God may not always act fast on my behalf. As a member of His family, there are times when daily, weekly, or year after year, my prayers to God continued–unanswered. I thought they were honorable prayers too, prayers that deserved special attention because they concerned areas of struggle and weakness I had or a sin I wanted to overcome. I mean, “God hates sin,” right? He’ll be here fast to help with this one. To my surprise, God didn’t immediately show up, let alone even address the situation I put before Him. He didn’t immediately come and show me a way out–sometimes until years later. God didn’t always immediately strengthen me, show me what to say, or heal my broken heart. I recall times crying out earnestly to Him, in anguish, seeking His help on a matter, his touch to relieve a pain that I felt warranted His immediate response. God did respond—but in His time. Contrary to how fast our society says we should move to keep up, I recall, in between my prayers to God and His response to them, I did: hurt, feel pain, cried, sweat, struggled, wondered, and thought. I did have to wait.

We don’t realize how earthly-minded we still are as Christians.  Instead of it being God’s kingdom driving us, we’re being driven and propelled forward maybe by our culture and societal norms and values, past hurts, settling a score, competing with someone, words spoken that left a scar, attempts to correct a past failure, and other things only you know. It’s wise to check in with ourselves to see what’s really driving us; it may not always be God.

When we’re so busy, moving fast, making things happen, and getting things done, at some point, we may finally look up and see, we missed the entire process and important small details. We neglected to recognize the still small voice inside us saying, “Stop, he’s hurting; she’s crying, sit a minute; look at Little Joey’s picture he drew for you; your husband had a rough day, rub his shoulders; look at that beautiful skyline; pick up that pretty Lily; go visit your sister today; tell them about Jesus, they’re ready; go, it’s parent/kids day at school; give her $20, she’s hungry; go visit your cousin in the hospital; hug him, he’s sad; sit down and listen, they’re depressed.” These seemingly insignificant whispers are wherein our blessing lies; it’s God quietly, gently speaking, and when we notice, we “do” what’s on His heart. Let’s slow down so we won’t miss these gentle nudgings anymore. For, it’s in doing these where our true success is measured—for God’s kingdom, that is.

Be blessed until next time!

A Mother’s Treasured Heart

Luke 2:19 (NIV) tells the story of how Jesus’ mother, Mary, treasured up and pondered in her heart words the Shepherds spoke about Jesus Christ. After the angel revealed to them who Christ was, they went to find this child. They found Mary and Joseph with the child and proclaimed to them and those nearby everything the angels had said about Jesus.  Verse 17 says, “When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child…and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. ” The scripture goes on to say about his mother, “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Surely, Mary was just as amazed as the others by what the shepherds said. She did not fully understand what these words meant about the child she had just given birth to.

However, she “treasured” and “pondered” on them, the text says. These words reflect more than just simply thinking about something. These words are used as verbs here, which denote an action Mary took. Meriam Webster defines treasure as, “to hold or keep as precious; or “to collect and store up (something of value) for future use.” Ponder means, “to think or consider especially quietly, soberly, and deeply.” Mary heard the shepherds’ words, wondered what they meant and thought deeply about them, considered them of excellent value, and quietly stored them deep inside her heart. The scripture does not tell us another angel appeared to explain all this to her. Nor does it say how Mary discussed it with her husband, Joseph, or ran to tell her friends. She didn’t even dance around the room in glee at this announcement.

On the contrary, Mary was struck by the idea she was responsible for raising an incredibly special child. The announcement was extraordinary. In her bewilderment, she made a mature decision. Quietly and wisely, Mary stored the words from the shepherds deep within her heart. Somehow, I belive Mary understood–at that moment–those words would be the arsenal she would need to draw from as Jesus, the Christ, would grow “… in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52). Now, things are becoming clearer for Mary.

May we follow Mary’s example with the children we’ve been gifted to love, care for, and guide. Surely, being a mother has its quirks and foibles. From our first look at our children, we don’t immediately know what will follow. Sometimes we want to know everything about our kids, or we try to craft them into what we want them to be. Instead, let’s do as Mary did and treasure the special moments we share with them and ponder in our hearts those special conversations when they are revealing themselves to us. As God did for Mary, in time, He will reveal to us our kids’ unique characteristics or abilities. Because, like Jesus, every child has a purpose when they are conceived.

Be blessed until next time…!