“The reason why my father loves me is because I lay down my life – only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and take it up again. This command I received from my father.” John 10:17&18 NIV
From the beginning they were there together. They knew all and had a plan to save all people and bring them back to themselves to live for eternity. What impresses me so much about this verse was that God put his son in control. Of course Jesus knew his father’s will but he also had final authority to make that decision himself. At any point he could have called for a hundred angels to come save him. So that they could not harm him. But he willingly laid down his life. He looked ahead to eternity and said, “they are worth it.” He kept that and the joy of his father in mind during everything. As he was being beaten and as he hung on the cross in great anguish we were on his mind. Family is so very important. I know as a parent my children came first, there wasn’t anything i wouldn’t do for them or their father. Well he looked at us that very same way and he knew that a perfect lamb had to be sacrificed for our sins for God to be able to be with us, his family forever. He was the only one who could do it. Not only did he go to his death willingly but he put up no objections or arguments. He forgave each and everyone who would do anything to bring about his death. As he hung there dying he saw the remorse and pain in the eyes of the criminal that hung next to him. He had done things worthy of death but he could also see his heart . He knew that he was sorry. He forgave him on the spot and promised him paradise. Even when he could have been thinking of himself he wasn’t. He was thinking of others. He knew they were all a part of God’s great plan. It was a perfect plan and each person’s actions were important to that plan. He saw the big picture. What it would mean to eternity. We see the small view. How could he do this? Why would his father want this? So much pain, hurting and suffering. But it was enough, it was brief compared to forever. I am so glad he made a way for me. A gift so precious that I will never take it for granted. I have so much respect and love for my savior. I get to know him more every day and I love him more and more.
Aren’t you glad for this gift, too?
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them, then come and offer your gift.” Matthew 5:23 NIV
God is looking at the heart. What we truly are and think is deep inside of us. Where no one but God can see. We can come across one way on our outward positioning, but what’s in our hearts is the true person. God has called us to love all people better than ourselves. He has told us that whatever it takes, we should be at peace with all men. That’s tough! It takes a lot of patience to get along with even the best of people. It doesn’t take much to get under our skin. To rub us the wrong way. There is no way in and of ourselves. God has to open our eyes to the way he loves others. He loves with such passion no matter what someone looks or acts like. He looks deeper to the lonely scared child that just wants to be loved and accepted. This person is his. He wants us to be there for others. Brothers and sisters making it together. This is more important than offering things. Money, time, devotion come in second place to people. That is why he has called us to care for widows and orphans, sick and hungry, and those who can’t take care of themselves. We may be their only hope. God can do all things but he uses us. He has given us a privilege to be apart of his bigger plan. When he was on earth all manner of sick, both mental and physical, came to him, their only hope for help. They didn’t know if he could or would help but they had to try. And ,Jesus had compassion. He saw their very soul and every hurt they had and he loved them so. That is why he doesn’t like sin. Because they hurt his beloved children. Those that he greatly cares about. Things like adultery, murder, stealing. All commands affect others wellbeing or loving and honoring God. Love covers over every action. If we just love the way he tells us to do we will have it down. We can not change the way others act, try as we may. Their behavior is between them and God. But if we just take a deep breath and ask God for help we can be the best we can be. You never know how your actions will greatly affect others around you.
Will you see others through God’s eyes of compassion?
“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.“ Acts 4:12 NIV
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus is there any sweeter name? Do you know how important that name is? When Jesus freely offered up his life to pay for the sins we could never pay for, he did an awesome thing. God is perfect and if we want to spend time with him then we have to be perfect. He knows that is impossible though. Someone had to pay for those sins. In the days of Moses many perfect animals had to die so that God’s people could be forgiven. Every day sacrifices were made. But God wanted to see the heart attitude of his people change. The only perfect man who ever lived was God’s own son. He had to be willing to watch his only son being arrested for sins he didn’t commit, being beaten beyond recognition, then to be hung on a cross with hardened criminals till all life drained from his body. Jesus did that for each of us so that we could have eternal life. It was the only way. Not many parents could do that. Not only did he die but he went into hell for us. Bearing all the sins that would ever be committed. After three days God broke the suffering and brought him back to life. Death had been defeated for all those who would believe. But not just believe there is a God. Even Satan believes in God but does not respect him or obey him. We must believe that Jesus loved us so much that he willingly died for us. So we wouldn’t have to. After three days he did raise to life and wants to take away all of our sins. We are justified. That means that God sees you as perfect just as his son. He sees your sins no more after you have asked to be forgiven. Along with salvation you get the Holy Spirit. He helps us every day to follow God’s commands and live like we should. Whenever we need help he is a prayer away. He will hear everything you ask believing in the name of Jesus. That name opens doors and breaks down walls for us. It is the most powerful name you will ever hear. God loves his son so much and now he sits on a throne at the right hand of God. All honor is due him for all that he did. But do you know that he keeps interceding for his followers? He knows that Satan still runs things on this earth and that we need help. But did you know that God is still in control of our lives? Satan can not kill us only God knows when we will breathe our last breath. When we do we are assured that we will be with him in paradise forever.
Do you know Jesus personally?
“Do not be afraid, Jacob my servant; for I am with you, declares the Lord. Though I completely destroy all the nations among which I scatter you, I will not completely destroy you. I will discipline you but only in due measure; I will not let you go completely unpunished. Jeremiah 46:28 NIV
God’s protection is always with us wherever we go. If you have been called by God and seek to follow the Lord, he is always with you. He will never leave you. Israel was God’s chosen people and they were known as a stubborn and obstinate people. They knew God and exactly what God wanted them to do. They still preferred to do things their way. The neglected God and sought god’s that they could see and touch. They were not really God’s though. We can also be the same way but we don’t actually make golden images, that we bow down to. We can however look to other things for our joy and satisfaction. Such as our children, our pets, our brand new car, our job, money and things that can take our attention off of God. Taking our time and attention away from him. Maybe you run to these things for the help you should seek God for. When you are in need he wants you to run to him, and cast all your cares on him for he cares for you. He is to be number one. When we sin he makes it known to you. You should come to God in complete repentance. When we sin it creates a wall between us. The longer we let it go, the larger that wall gets. God can not tolerate sin and at some point, even though we think we got away with it, sin will be punished. God let his chosen people get farther and farther away, but he then sent other countries to imprison them in bondage. Even in bondage he was looking out for them. He would punish for a time, but they were still his people. He loved them. He then would bring them home again and bless them. Although all may be in turmoil around us God is still with us. Do not grow tired of doing what is right either, because he blesses us also. It may seem like he’s not listening or watching us, oh but he is. He knows the true heart of his people and will bring about good as well as well deserved discipline.
Is there a wall between you and God?
“Do you not know that in a race that all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way to get the prize.” 1 Corinthians 9:24 NIV
“Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.” Revelations 22:12 NIV
Have you ever done something you were not proud of? I wish I could go back and change things. We all make mistakes. Maybe we said something that hurt someone. Done something that hurt others. When it’s done we feel bad. But God loves us even when we don’t love ourselves. If we come to him and ask forgiveness, he will forgive. That bad feeling will go and be replaced by peace. We don’t need to carry it anymore. His love can bring so much healing. What if you were gone tomorrow? You know tomorrow is not promised to any of us. We could have a massive heart attack, or a car accident. With the world spiraling out of our control, I see us as a big cage of rats going nuts. Is what we are doing really helping? What if Jesus came tonight to take his children home? We are in the end times and it could be any day. We never know what tomorrow will bring. Today may be our last day. If you knew it was your last day on earth, what would you do differently? When we stand before Jesus and he shows us everything we have ever done. Good and bad you should be ready. What will we say? That is when I don’t want regrets. At that point it’s to late to change our fate. I want to stand before him with a clean slate. He makes that possible. We can make sure he sees us in the light of his perfect son, in all his righteousness. Either we can be perfect, or we can live every day the best we can. Seeking God’s will in our lives first. Ask Gods help to good things of encouragement. Lord show me ways to help others. He has made me a good listener. I am very aware of the needs of others around me, and he lets me know what to do and say. If I can’t help I can find someone who can. He has given me the gift of writing. He gives me words to help others. He will show me just what they need to hear. It’s not me, it’s him helping me. The more I try to serve, the more he shows me to do. He will do the same for you. Every time we do something that we know is wrong, we need to come to him and ask for forgiveness. At the end of the day we need to look back over the day. What good did i do? What bad did I do? Keep the lines of communication open. Thank you Lord for this day. I am sorry for ….. You will sleep so much better with a clear heart. I have also seen a cage full of rats that were all snuggled up close to each other sound asleep. We all need to take care of each other. To love each other.
Will you be rewarded for your actions?