Saturday, February 2, 2013

Cast Your Anxiety On Him

Lately life seems to be really getting me down. This is something that can be expected from time to time. Life in this sin filled and imperfect world is going to have suffering. It comes in many forms. Work is stressing you out. Maybe you feel stuck in a situation. Financial troubles cause severe stress on individuals. Illness and disease cause pain and suffering. There is no shortage of things that cause complication, stress and suffering in the world. Some may ask, "How could a loving God allow all of this?" The answer is simple. God did not intend for this. He created a perfect world full of perfect creatures. Pain and suffering were not part of his original creation. But when mankind fell into sin, death and suffering came into the world. We cannot blame God but, only ourselves for this. However, God did not leave us in this state of despair. We know that God sent his one and only Son to save us from sin, death and the devil. But what about all our day to day troubles. Romans 8:32 reminds us that if God did not spare his Son, how will he not also give us everything we need. It is nothing for Him to provide for all our daily needs. It is not hard, it does not require effort or sacrifice on His part. Giving up His Son and allowing his suffering and death however was hard. And yet, He did it. Why? For us. If He would do that, why not the things that are easy.

Jesus reminds us not to worry but simply trust God. He reminds us that God provides for the flowers of the field and the small birds of the air, both of which are fairly insignificant when compared to His love for us. If He will provide for plants and birds, then he will certainly provide for us. So we have no need for worry or anxiety. And yet, God knows that our faith is often week. Despite knowing what he will do for us, we still tend to worry and have lives full of anxiety. So Peter reminds us in I Peter 5:7 to cast that anxiety on him. Give it up, let it go. For some reason this is hard for us. It seems no matter how hard I try to just hand it over, I still hang on to it. But God lovingly invites us to give it all to Him. He can handle it, it's no problem. I'll take it all He tells us. God loves us and does not want us to worry. When your life becomes full of stress and worry, give it all to God. Hand it over, let it go. If you struggle with this, pray. Ask God to take it. Ask Him to help you let it go. Always remember what God has done for you. We know in all things He works for our good. We can't always see how, but we trust His promise that it will. Remember that in the end, regardless of what comes our way in life, we know what will come in the next. Life will never be perfect on earth, but in will be in heaven. Keep your eyes on that and God's promises to overcome whatever trouble life has thrown at you.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Christmas, It's All About the Presence!

Another Christmas has come and gone. When you ask people about their Christmas, the gifts they received are often a big part of the conversation. A lot about Christmas revolves around presents. What are you getting? What did you give? Presents at Christmas remind us of God's present to us, His Son. Presents are fun, but they are not what Christmas is all about. Christmas is all about the presence.

The Bible tells us the savior would be called Immanuel which means God with us. What better way to describe Jesus. True God from all eternity puts aside his power and glory and leaves his heavenly home. Why? To join us here on earth. God truly was with us. This was God's original intent for us, that we would dwell with him. Adam and Eve knew God, they spent time with him. Sin caused a separation that no man could overcome. So Jesus came to once again dwell with us. But this did not end with his temporary time on earth. He came to restore what Adam and Eve had lost. He destroyed the sin that separates us from God. He came that we might be with Him. Jesus is Immanuel, not just on earth, but through eternity for those who believe. The presence of God that was lost in the garden was restored on the cross. Jesus promises that He will be with us always. We are not alone in our time on earth. He is with us and will be until that time that we join Him in heaven.

While most people are focusing on the presents they recently got, we focus on the presence. God's presence among us through Jesus coming to earth and our eternal presence with Him through Jesus death and resurrection.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Are You Ready

Are you ready for Christmas? This is a question you hear a lot this time of year. The answers you generally hear in response to this question focus on whether or not we have our shopping done, our decorations are up or our plans are set. Sometimes it seems like the last thing on our minds this time of year is Christ. Sure we may go to a Christmas church service. We may listen to or sing some Christmas hymns. But Christmas is generally void of Christ. We are thinking about gifts we are buying and gifts we are hoping to get. We are thinking about our decorations. We focus on our holiday plans, parties and traditions. We get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays.

Are we really ready for Christmas? Isaiah 40:3 foresaw John the Baptist who would prepare the people for Christ. How did John prepare the people for the coming Christ? He told them to repent, to turn from their sins. Sin is the barrier in our lives and hearts that prevent Christ from entering in. As Christmas time arrives, make time to prepare for Christ. Prepare for him. Step back from the commercialism around you. Reflect on the promises of God. Take time to meditate on that holy child. Understand the magnitude of God's own Son becoming a baby for all mankind. In this chaotic time, rediscover the peace, joy, hope and love that Christmas is really about. Prepare your hearts for Him.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Social Media

I have a facebook and twitter page that I can also be followed on. I am just starting this but hope to include Bible verses  used in my blog and other daily thoughts eventually.

Twitter @redeemsinner


What does perfection mean to you? We live in a fallen work in which perfection has been lost. Yet, this is what the Bible tells us God expects from us. Matthew 5:48 instructs us to be perfect just as our Heavenly Father is perfect. At the same time the Bible tells us this is not possible. James 2:10 tells us that if a person where to keep the whole law but stumble at just one point, they would be guilty of breaking all of it. There is no almost in God's book. He doesn't ask for near perfection but total perfection. No one has ever nor will ever achieve this. Romans 3:23 tells us that all have sinned and fall short of God's demand for perfection. Earlier in verse 10 we are told that there is not even one righteous person. Psalms 51:5 tells us that we were sinful from birth, even from the time of conception. There is no inherent goodness in us. We are not born perfect with the opportunity to remain that way. We are not born with a small defect that we can work towards overcoming. We are conceived in sin. Born sinful. This truth is far from the world's view of inherent goodness of mankind or the innocence of children. We don't have to look far to see that the world's view of perfection doesn't match God's.

In baseball a perfect game is one in which a pitcher does not allow anyone from the opposing team to get on base safely. In basketball a player who doesn't miss a shot may have his performance referred to as perfect. But would these performances meet God's definition of perfection? Probably not. To meet God's view of perfect that pitcher would have not only needed to prevent anyone from getting on base, they would have needed to not throw a single ball or foul hit. That basketball player would have needed to make all his shots, connect perfectly on all passes and commit no errors at all. This is the kind of perfection God demands. Total perfection.

So where does this leave us. God demands total perfection from us. We are not capable of that kind of perfection. Even when we think we are doing good it can never undo the sin we have done. Isaiah 64:6 tells us that our righteous acts are like filthy rags. This leaves us with a grim outlook. But God would not leave us in a state of despair. Yes He knew that we could never meet his demand for perfection. Yes he knew that there would be nothing we could ever do to get out of our fallen state. So  He did the only thing He could. He took matters into his own hands. He sent his one and only Son to do what we couldn't. He came as our substitute. He lived the perfect life that we couldn't. He died the death we should have. He suffered the torments of hell that we deserved. His innocent suffering and death made atonement for our imperfection. He paid the price for our sin to take away our imperfection and once again make us perfect in God's sight. The record has been erased. In its place God sees Jesus' perfection. We are clothed in Christ and his righteousness. Through faith we take hold of that forgiveness and righteousness.

Many people and religions throughout the world feel the need or want to earn their salvation. We see from the Bible that this is not possible. Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane for another way. The answer was that there was no other way. God would not have given His one and only Son over to such treatment if there were. Jesus tells us that he is the way, the truth and the life. There is no other. Certainly not one by our own doing. What comfort this should bring. It's not up to me. God has already done it for me. He did all the work. For all that He has done we thank and praise his Holy Name.

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Royal Scepter

As time goes by throughout the Old Testament, the promises of the Messiah become more specific. First we see that the Messiah will be the offspring of Eve. Later we are told that he will be the offspring of Abraham and then Isaac. In Genesis 49:10 we read that the Messiah will be a descendent of Judah. As Jacob is blessing his sons, he states that the scepter will not depart from Judah until it comes to the one to whom it belongs. The one to whom it belongs is Jesus, the Messiah. This is the first instance where the promised Messiah is referred to as a ruler.

We know that Jesus was from the kingly line of David, but this is not what made him a ruler. As he made clear to Pilate at his trial, his kingdom is not of this earth. Jesus rules the kingdom of heaven. He came to earth to win back his subjects. Through his victory on the cross, he received the right to rule over all creation. The scepter finally came to the one to whom it belonged. As Christmas approaches, we celebrate and remember the coming of the King.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Second Promise

When it comes to God's Promises he only needs to make them once. There should be no doubt in our mind that he will come through. He is not a human that he needs to keep making the promise over and over. In spite of this, God knows mankind. We easily forget God and his promises. It doesn't take long for mankind to forget about God and forsake him to the point where God decides to destroy nearly all of its inhabitants in a flood and start over. It is not long after that when we are introduced to Abram. The Bible doesn't tell us much about the faith of people at this time. However, it seems safe to say that the world had once again strayed from God. Abram's father had various gods. God calls Abram out to be the father of his people. It is to Abram, or Abraham, that we see the second recorded promise of the Savior. This time the promise is more subtle. It can easily be missed. Genesis 12:3 records God telling Abram that through his offspring all nations will be blessed. This is a promise God repeats to Abraham in Genesis 22:18.

How would all nations be blessed? It doesn't seem to make sense at first. Abraham is the father of the Jewish nation. This nation becomes God's select people. It comes off at times as a select club or group with the benefits of having the God of heaven and earth on its side. So how can the offspring of the father of this exclusive nation be a blessing to all nations. The answer is simply found in Jesus. Though Jesus was a Jew and descended from Abraham, he came not only for the Jews but for all people. His perfect life was lived in the place of all sinners. His innocent suffering and death was for all mankind. The salvation and defeat of death that he won was for the whole world. John 3:16 tells us this plainly and simply. God so loved the world. Not a certain group, nation or people. The world. All of it. Every last one of us. His one and only Son was given for the whole world. That is how Abraham's offspring would be a blessing to all nations.

This promise to Abraham may be subtle but it says a lot. It reminds us of the fact that Christ came for all. He came as a blessing to all nations. As we approach Christmas and reflect on God's promises, remember that most important promise was promised to all.