Guilt: It’s History!

Friday, March 22, 2019

Are you guilty? Certainly you are guilty of something. If all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23), then yes, I am guilty and so are you. That is a historical fact. It’s history.

However, I experience a lot of Christians living in perpetual guilt – living defeated. Guilt over not praying enough, not reading their Bible enough, not giving enough, guilt over the imperfection of their humanity, guilt about this and that and the other. It seems many live on a perpetual self-defeating guilt trip.

BUT this happened, just as it was predicted:

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.                                                                                                 Isaiah 53:5

Yes, the spotless, innocent, Son of God was pierced for all our guilt. He died a cruel death, for you and me. Our sin crucified the Savior.

But, He was crucified, and with Him our guilt and sin and shame. He put our guilt to death once and for all. We are not called to live in perpetual guilt, shame and self-loathing – but to embrace His healing love. We are called to live in Christ. Live in the freedom the Son has purchased by His own precious blood.

Guilt is history.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.              Romans 8:1 

Christ calls us to freedom and abundant life.  Today, if you are in Him, shake off your guilty fears and dare to live boldly as a beloved child of the King.     

Was That Intentional?

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Did you do that intentionally? Did the guy in the brown SUV just intentionally cut me off?  Did she intentionally snub me? Do you wonder if the challenging and hurtful things happening around you are intentional? Maybe you attribute intentionality to those who offend you. But maybe it’s not intentional, maybe they are just unaware.

I’m convinced there are a lot of folks who are radically unaware, including myself at times. In my unawareness I have offended, cut-off, overlooked and inadvertently wounded. It was not intentional.

Jesus said to pray like this:

“Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”      Matthew 6:10

This is a prayer of radical intentionality. It’s calling you and me to kingdom awareness, willful awareness and intentionality. The intention is to place the kingdom of God, the will of God and the ways of God first.

Jesus prayed a similar prayer of radical intentionality when His life was on the line in the garden of Gethsemane:

“Not as I will, but as You will.”                                                                            Matthew 26:39

His love, life, struggles and sufferings were intentional.

Sometimes I stagger through my day unaware, without intentionality, and it is not rewarding. The model prayer of Jesus, and the focus of His life, was that of intentionality. Intentionally putting his Father’s will first, intentionally giving His life for ours, intentionally humbling himself for the wellbeing of others, intentionally taking narrow roads, making sacrifices, and pursuing hard people in love. It was Jesus’ intention to impact others with his life and love.

I will live with intentionality today. What are you going to be intentional about today?

Hope Springs

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Another Wednesday, the middle of another week. But today is different, it’s the first day of Spring. Spring brings greening grass, buds and bulbs, and the promise of warmer days. Spring brings the hope of beauty and new life around us.

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new. … It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.”  (Revelation 21:5-6)

The beauty of the new Spring season is an encouraging reminder of an even greater hope. Our Savior has finished, by His life, death and resurrection, all that is necessary to secure the new life. IT IS DONE! We have yet to realize the full blooming of new life, but as sure as the buds will blossom in the months ahead, new life is ours in Christ. He has purchased your life on the cross, and secured new life for you through the power of His resurrection. You and I have the privilege of drinking from The Spring of life today and every day – without payment.

So, today is not just Wednesday, it is another day to enjoy and give thanks for our new life in Christ and the hope of glory to come as He makes all things new.

That’s Compelling!

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

I received an offer in the mail from Chevrolet yesterday for $3800 off a truck. I want a truck and I’d really like to justify getting one. But even after $3800 off, it’s still over $40,000. I want, but I’m not compelled to spend.

What compels me has changed over the years. Maybe I’m old, or I’ve grown up.

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. (2 Cor. 5:14-15)

Paul says what compelled him was Christ love in him. The King James says the love of God “constraineth us.” It’s interesting language, as it means love holds us together. Without it we would cease to exist, immediately. We would fall apart!

But more than that, Paul says it is Christ’s love, His sacrificial death, and His resurrection life that compels him to live as an ambassador for Christ. As such, he lived as a minister of reconciliation – compelled to share Christ and see others come to know and experience the forgiveness of sins and mercy of God in Christ. He gave his life to it, because he was so consumed and compelled by the love of God for him.

May we be compelled today by the gift of Christ’s love and offer it to one another.

#10 – A Potent Presence

Monday, March 18, 2019

“And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority!” Mark 1:27

“And as he passed by, he saw Levi…and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.” Mark 2:14

As you start your Monday, remember that there is One present within you who is more powerful and potent than anything or anyone anywhere, ever.

Consider this, the God who spoke life into existence, the God who spoke and called a deadman from a tomb, and the God who spoke but a few words and men followed him is present to you, now.

David Benner says: “The potency of Jesus’s teaching and the fact that others recognized him as carrying astounding authority came from his presence and the way it bore witness to the truth of his being. The power of his presence – not rhetoric, manipulation, hypnosis, or any other source of influence – is the basis of the most powerful natural authority and source of influence we will ever encounter.

Jesus is with you, in you and able to do abundantly more than you ask or think. Take on Monday full of His love and potent presence and let His glory shine.

Saint Patrick & the LUCK of the Irish

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Tomorrow is Saint Patrick’s Day. You are free to celebrate with green beer if you want, but Saint Patrick did not bring beer to Ireland. He did however bring the Irish LUCK. 

Patrick was first in Ireland as a prisoner (4th Century). He was taken captive by Irish pirates long before he was a believer in Jesus Christ. He spent six years in captivity before escaping back to England. While in captivity in Ireland, Patrick came to faith. He wrote in Confession that his “time in captivity was critical to his spiritual development.”

“I am the LORD; I have called you in righteousness;
I will take you by the hand and keep you;
I will give you as a covenant for the people,
a light for the nations,
to open the eyes that are blind,
to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,
from the prison those who sit in darkness.
I am the LORD; that is my name;
my glory I give to no other,
nor my praise to idols. (Isaiah 43:6-8)

In the struggles of life he met the mercy of God. Patrick said: “The Lord had mercy on his youth and ignorance, and afforded him the opportunity to be forgiven his sins.” The captive was captured by the love of God, for the glory of God.  

Years after escaping and returning home, he had a vision to return and share Christ. At this time Ireland was lost and pagan. Legend has it he shared about the Holy Trinity using a three leafed Shamrock, using it to illustrate the teaching of three persons in One God.

The expression, “the luck of the Irish” is oft quoted around Saint Patrick’s Day. It actually has nothing to do with him or three or four leaf clovers/Shamrocks. You can research that saying on your own. 

What is clear is that God’s mercy and love set Patrick free. And Patrick, full of love, used his freedom to share Christ. In fact he did bring Ireland a sort of  LUCK – love, understanding, compassion and kindness. That is the LUCK that transformed Ireland. And indeed today it is love, understanding, compassion and kindness that we are called to celebrate and share with all. 

So – here’s to the God of Saint Patrick who breathes life, sets us free, and calls us to live out of the love, understanding, compassion and kindness of Jesus Christ.  That is luck worth celebrating.  

T.G.I.F.

Friday, March 15, 2019

It’s Friday and the week is near an end. You are free to celebrate that if you want. But maybe TGIF means more than celebrating the arrival of Friday. What if we took it to mean Thank God I’m Free? 

God’s freedom carries more weight and more hope than the end of a weeks work.

Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him,  

“If you remain in my word, you are my disciples, and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” 

These followers responded:

“We are of Abraham, we’ve never been enslaved to anyone”                                   (they had forgotten their history – 400 years of slavery in Egypt).

Jesus replied: 

“Sin enslaves everyone who practices it and the one enslaved to sin will not remain in the house (God’s house). But if the Son sets you free, you are free indeed. (paraphrase of John 8:31ff)

At the end of the day you will be “free” of the work week. Free to take off a day or two. Free, because we live in a free society, to do almost anything we please and that will please you. BUT, what if true freedom is more? What if it is a lot more than the freedom to indulge, satisfy, please and cater to ourselves?

Jesus says later, “if you understood your freedom you would love me” (John 8:42). And as the gospel unfold he says, “if you love me, you will love one another as I have loved you” (John 13:34).

Our freedom is not so much a freedom for self, but a freedom from self? Freedom from ourselves is the freedom to love and serve God and one another. Freedom from our sinful passions and desires releases us to a deeper love, a more fulfilling love.

Today, thank God you are free and choose to live in and out of the love with which you have been love. This is freedom worth celebrating, today and everyday. TGIF.