When everything goes wrong: Is the Devil against you, or God?

Pride is a funny sin. Not funny in a laughing sort of way, but funny in the way it acts. Or more accurately how we react to it.

As sinful humans still stuck in the flesh we always find a way to justify our sin. Sometimes it is obvious but we want to ignore it, and other times, especially with pride, it is extremely hard to acknowledge the sin.  You can be stuck in pride and not even realize it. What is worth, God hates pride, and if you are being prideful then God will resist you.

God resists the proud,But gives grace to the humble – James 4:6

There are times in our life when everything seems to be going wrong. Because of our pride and our arrogance we automatically assume that it is the Devil that brings these trials to us, so we seek God to overcome the trials.

But what we fail to recognize is that sometimes it is God bringing us the trials. God may allow or bring trials in your life for any reason at all, because He is sovereign and wants to prove a point (read the book of Job) or to rebuke.

Do not despise the chastening of the LORD,Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him. – Hebrews 12:5

If it is to rebuke us, then we had better repent and listen.  I am currently reading the book “The Light and the Glory” by Peter Marshall and David Manuel. The basics of the book is digging into history and personal journals of people who had a hand in founding this nation, from Christopher Columbus and his crew to George Washington and showing how God had a hand in the creation of this nation. (Look for our review of the book soon)

I noticed something interesting as I read about Christopher Columbus. He was a man of God, who served God and felt called to go on this mission to bring Christ to the Indies. Not everything went right, it took him 8 years of petitions and being rejected before he was finally approved for the mission. Getting there was not an easy trip and he ran into trouble, but continuously in his life he prayed and sought God.  By seeking God doors were opened that reassured Christopher that his journey was a call from God.

But something happened when Christopher Columbus first discovered the isles. Pride started to kick in, along with greed. These two forces worked to tear down what God was doing, not only in the life of Christopher Columbus but in the lives of all of the travelers who went to settle.

Gold became the new motivating factor, replacing the original mission of bringing the gospel to the new land. One of the ships was lost when it took off in search for gold (of the three that set for, and reach the Americas), and when they were about a week from home the largest storm that any sailor of the time had ever seen wrecked havoc on the ship.

Columbus’ response was to turn to God, but not to repent of his own greed or pride. No, the thing about Pride is that it, by definition, prevents us from seeing it; until it is too late. Instead they cast lots to make bargains to try and appease God. Promising to go on pilgrimages or promising to go to mass and praise God as soon as they reached shore. (sound familiar?)  They made it home, but broken, but that didn’t matter because Columbus was the new hero! Given the title “Admiral of the Ocean Sea” (at Christopher Columbus’ request) he showed the fruits of this new land. A few natives they brought back to translate, animals, fruits, and of course, the gold. So of course Admiral Columbus was sanctioned to return.

The settlement he returned to had been killed, attacked by the Indians after the settlers had raped and robbed and murdered many of the locals. Instead of this leading them all, especial Columbus, to repentance, this led to war, or more like genocide. After several more outbreaks a new governor was sent to take charge. But, being full of pride Christopher Columbus would not have his authority taken away, and ended up being arrested, sent back to Spain in chains, then after nearly a year was permitted to return to the new found land, but told never to return the colony he had already established.

Determined to make his own way Christopher Columbus fought to go where the gold was. Fighting such strong storms and winds that it took them 38 days to make a 3 day journey. 2 of the ships were torn apart by worms and Admiral Columbus was sick with the fever. He found his gold, and more bloodshed. He made it home, rich, but according to his journal, regretful for how he failed in his original mission, to bring the light to the lost.

Pride, turned a man who was on a mission by God into a man of greed, causing bloodshed instead of bringing salvation.  When opposed by every force imaginable, storms, winds or lack of winds, sickness, loss of food and water, it only brought them to cry to God for help, not to repent of their own sin. Why? Pride, they were sure they were on the right course, being hindered by Satan. They couldn’t imagine that it was God trying to get their attention, trying to get them to repent.

What should I do?

If you are struggling right now, and it seems that everything is going against you, do not just assume that this is Satan trying to stop you on your “God given” (or possibly selfish) mission.

First you need to seek God. Repent, ask God to show you anything in your life that is hindering you from serving God. If you are honest with God, he will show you your honest self, like it or not. God will show you what needs to go.

If you are not caught in pride or sinning, seeking God will still show you how God wants you to proceed, even if the problems in your life are caused by Satan.

So the bottom line, seek God, humble yourself, and repent.

Removing my idols

The Lancer Evolution VIII is an absolute beautiful and powerful machine. This is the car I have wanted for a long time for a lot of useful reasons as well as a lot of personal fun reasons (I wanted to learn how to drift at the local race track). Every time I see one on the road I cannot help to stare and wish I had one.

Last summer i saw one for sale, used, for $24,000 which is not a bad price when the car is normally $32k for the base model. I could not get it though. I have blown and waisted my money and I have too many other bills to be able to afford a second car. So I was beating myself up over it. If I had just managed my money better I could get it, if I had not spent money on useless things I would have been able to get my dream car. It led me to a new resolve, to get out of debt and spend less money.  To help encourage me to do this I printed out the add for the car, with a picture of it along with the price, and I stuck it in my wallet.

This I used as a reminder and as motivation. It was right by my debit and credit card so I would see it anytime anytime I would spend money.   I would look at the picture and remember what I am saving up for which I was hoping would prevent me from blowing my money.

Last week while I was in prayer God brought that picture to my mind, and I was shown exactly how disgusting that act was. The car had become my idol. I was thinking about it every time I opened my wallet, I was sacrificing for it. The Lancer had evolved from just coveting (which is itself a sin) and it became an idol, like most things we covet tend to become.

That day while in prayer I took that image out of my wallet and ripped it to pieces, and with it my resolve to ever buy the car. How could I let a meaningless machine take such a high priority in my life? I have since filled that space in my wallet with a picture of Franco, a child I sponsor through Potter’s Field ministries. If ever there was a reason to save your money, that is it. Jesus told us to give to the poor (James 1:27), to store up treasure in heaven (Matthew 6:20), not to acquire nice things on earth!

Which would you rather be known for, having a nice car, or helping the poor? Living to impress others, or living for Jesus? Which way of living truly shows that you get it and that you actually follow Jesus? Feeding the hungry is feeding Jesus (Matthew 25:40), having a nice car serves nothing but yourself.

Are you living in sin without realizing it?

As a Christian it goes without saying that I try to avoid sin in my life. I do not get drunk, do drugs, hate other people, steal, kill, or cheat through life. We do such a good job, in fact, of avoiding sin that we get prideful and arrogant. We think we are doing good enough and are better than others that we do not really analyze our life to see if we are living a life for Christ or are living in sin.

To make matters worse, everything around us, including society, is trying to camouflage sin, making it seem less wrong or even making it okay to do. It is not until we see someone actually living a righteous life that the camouflage gets removed and the sin is exposed as what it is.

Removing the camouflage on my sin

I love to drive. I do not know what it is about driving, but I just love to get out on the road and drive. And I am a person that does not speed. Well, you know, nothing *that* fast. I usually stick to about 5 miles per hour over the speed limit and on the highways I go with the flow of traffic. It is not really “speeding” because everybody else on the road does it.

And by saying “everyone does it” I am not trying to be cliche or anything like that. Literally, every person I know thinks that five miles over is the norm, and rarely do you find cops that will pull you over for this making it seem okay in the eyes of the law.

Then I went on a trip to South Carolina to visit my friend, Sean. Sean is not like everybody else… Sean has this crazy notion that the speed limit, is actually the speed limit. He takes the law seriously, even when it is inconvienant or slower.

It is a refreshing sight to see someone who takes something seriously. Sean took the speed limit seriously, and did not speed if he could help it. And this convicted me. Seeing someone else living the way we know we should live removes any excuse that we could use to avoid living like we know we should.

No more excuses

Now I have no more excuses to continue living the way I was. I know that not only do I know I should live righteously, but it is also very possible to live righteously. So I no longer speed; but for real this time.

This makes me wonder, what else is in our life that we think is normal and acceptable behavior but the Bible tells us is sin? Anything breaking the law is wrong, including speeding, pirating software, music, and movies, not paying taxes or any number of other things.

Be Holy

God tells us to “Be Holy for I am Holy” (1 Peter 1:16) which makes it clear that we are to be holy, set apart, not living like the rest of the world. Why must we be holy even though everybody else is having fun in sin? Because God is holy, and we are taking on His name and representing Him.

When you sin, you are not giving yourself a bad name, or the church you go to. You are really giving God a bad name and image. How can we dare take on that responsibility and then continue living in sin using the excuse that “everybody is doing it?”

When Christians let the norms of society define what is right or wrong, we are really in trouble.

Living for God, not for yourself

Not only do we regularly sin by doing actions we shouldn’t, like speeding, the church is also involved in sins of omission, or the sin of being disobedient. Most of the church is lazy, not living for God at all and just doing what they want to do. Rarely do people prayer read their Bibles, let alone actually witness to people.

We are not to live this way!

Christians have a calling, and we cannot ignore that calling just because everybody else does. Sometimes this is hard to see, which is why we must look to those who live their faith like they believe it. People such as Francis Chan, for example. When we see these people living their faith it should convict us to live for God with all of our life instead of the 2% we give Him now.

So take some time and listen to sermons from Francis Chan or other pastors, and spend even more time praying and reading God’s word. This will help you to identify what sin is in your life that you may not even realize.

Should Christians celebrate the death of Osama Bin Laden?

Big news has hit the media, Osama (or Usama) Bin Laden is dead. With that news people are rejoicing a lot. My facebook page is flooded with messages celebrating the death of the Al-Queda leader.

But personally, as a Christian, I have mixed feelings on it…

Which leads me to ask, is it okay for Chrisitans to celebrate the death of Bin Laden?

Why all the celebration in the first place?

The first thing that needs to be asked, is why is all the celebration happening in the first place?  Osama Bin Laden is the leader of a terrorist group, Al-Qaeda, according to the FBI most wanted poster.  For this reason, I think it is a good thing that Osama was taken out. This is not to say that this will stop or even slow down terrorism, but the fact that someone who would take the lives of innocent people, or command others to take lives, overwhelmingly shows that such a person must be stopped.

In the Old Testament we even see God ordering the death of the unjust and declaring judgment on those who are against God.

Because you have ignored all my counsel and would have none of my reproof, I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when terror strikes you. (Proverbs 1:25-26)

Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints and apostles and prophets, for God has given judgment for you against her! (Revelation 18:20)

As the Lord took delight in doing you good . . . so the Lord will take delight in bringing ruin upon you and destroying you. (Deuteronomy 28:63)

So yes, the celebration is called for.

Does Osama deserve Hell?

Now for the tough question which I am sure will stir a lot of emotions up, but bear with me for a minute.

Does Osama deserve hell, any more than you or I?

Our instinct is to declare “Yes, he does! I am not like Osama, I am not a terrorist!” but that is side-stepping the question.  Osama committed horrible crimes against humanity, and for that he was dealt punishment by human hands. But when it comes to acts against God, you and I are no better off than Osama.

Every single time you or I tell a lie, look with lust, hate someone, or covet what we do not have, we are committing a sin against God.  Romans 3:9-20 states:

9 What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin.
10 As it is written:

“ There is none righteous, no, not one;
11 There is none who understands;
There is none who seeks after God.
12 They have all turned aside;
They have together become unprofitable;
There is none who does good, no, not one.”
13 “ Their throat is an open tomb;
With their tongues they have practiced deceit”;

“ The poison of asps is under their lips”;
14 “ Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.”
15 “ Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16 Destruction and misery are in their ways;
17 And the way of peace they have not known.”
18 “ There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

When it comes to our standing before God, we are all guilty. The only reason we have been forgiven, is completely because of the works Christ did on the cross, and completely because God called us. Not because we are any better.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. – Romans 3:23-26

We need to be careful when we try to pass judgment on someone eternally. We should be praying for our enemies and hoping for their repentance more than trying to destroy them.

Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord God, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live? . . . For I do not pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live. (Ezekiel 18:23, 32)

So yes, we are thankful that a terrorist can no longer harm others and thankful for the American troops who did their job to stop this criminal who acted against humanity, but at the same time we should be sorrowful that another person must spend eternity in hell. And no matter how much we think that person deserves hell, we must stop and realize that we, you and I and our loved ones, deserves hell just as much as Osama Bin Laden.

Easter: Getting back to the basics

Today will no doubt be a busy day for most people.  You have clothes to get ready, get to church on time, find the eggs with the kids, easter baskets to pick through for favorite candies, and a big family easter dinner to prepare.  To many people it seems that they spend all day celebrating easter, and little time celebrating Jesus.

Besides the hour and a half spent singing praise songs and listening to a sermon at church, very litte thought is given towards God today with all of the business distracting us.  Like many western traditional celebrations easter becomes less a celebration of the resurection of the cross and more of a celebration of the celebration itself.

Today is the day that we remember the most unfair sacrifice in all of history. Today we remember Jesus, the creator of all things (John 1:3), being perfect and without any sin (Hebrews 4:15), but was raised from the dead, conquering death, so we could be called righteous before God! (Romans 5:19)  Do you get the impact of that statement?

You have sinned, a lot. Do not try denying it, you are a filthy sinner. Every lie, every lustful thought, every greedy or selfish action you take, all of it, is detestable in the sight of God. Don’t believe me? Just look at the old testament, at how God wanted those who sined to be punished. It gives a glimpse of how much God hates sin.  Yet God, the one you sin against every day, sacrificed Himself, for what? To erase every evidence of sin in our life. To declare us righteous and allow us to serve Him, the living God!

“Are we sorry for grieving the heart of God… for denying God the right to own our personality… to own our mind… to own our thoughts… to own our emotions? (If not) we’re robbing God.” – Leonard Ravenhill

Instead of making today about easter bunnies and new clothes and business of making big dinners, spend today focusing on your sin, repenting from your sin, and thanking God for the wonderful act of Grace that He has provided freely for you. Take some time to celebrate that, what easter is supposed to be all about.

For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.  But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. – Romans 5:7-9

Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.  For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation … – Hebrews 2:1-3

Isaiah 53

 1 Who has believed our message
   and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
   and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
   nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by mankind,
   a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
   he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

 4 Surely he took up our pain
   and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
   stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 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.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
   each of us has turned to our own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
   the iniquity of us all.

 7 He was oppressed and afflicted,
   yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
   and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
   so he did not open his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
   Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
   for the transgression of my people he was punished.
9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
   and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
   nor was any deceit in his mouth.

 10 Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
   and though the LORD makes his life an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
   and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.
11 After he has suffered,
   he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
   and he will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, 
   and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
   and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
   and made intercession for the transgressors.

Gay Marriage: Politics and Laws are NOT the answer

Let’s start with marriage!

The major issue is that our current culture doesn’t properly teach the significance and the commitment of covenant that marriage represents. Lots of people get “married” and just repeat the lines the pastor/priest tells them to do without actually knowing that they truly need to mean it deep down. Sure it is easy to agree to something at the time when you are “in love” with the person, but most people don’t spend time truly thinking about the ramifications of being fully committed to someone the rest of their life.

The marriage covenant is something that God created and is a Holy institution of covenant between and man and a woman. The fact is that “gay marriage” does not fit with the definition of the institution that God created, and therefore it should not be called marriage. If gay couples want the same rights as married couples from the government then they should create their own term/name for their union and not call it marriage, because it is not marriage.

While I definitely don’t agree with the lifestyle and decisions a gay couple has made for themselves, I don’t believe that the law should prohibit gay couples from having similar status as marriage from the government. The bigger issue is the issue of deception and of the heart in gay couples. You can create as many laws as you want to prevent them from doing what you find reviling, but all this does is alienate them from what they perceive to be the church. It’s like trying to put a bandaid on a severed leg and expecting it to be fixed.  If you don’t deal with the root issues of their hearts then passing a law isn’t going to fix anything.   Christians need to pray fervently about going with God into the political, corporate, media, education, and entertainment spheres of influence to start bringing Godly values back into our pop culture. For too long we have sat in our pews within the four walls and allowed things to just happen, attributing it to the will of God; when truly the will of God was for us to rise up as ambassadors and mentors for our society.

When the church learns how to show the same love and honor Jesus did to those around them, regardless of what they believe, and to get on their face to pray for God to give them favor with those who are in influence, we will finally be in a position to transform this world and bring God’s Kingdom everywhere that we go. The Bible calls us ambassadors of a different Kingdom, and that every place we step becomes our inheritance. So why isn’t it happening? Wake up church! Stop complaining and humble yourself. Get on your faces before God until He gives you power from on high to do the job that Jesus sent us to do. Jesus took back the keys of authority over the Earth back from satan and gave them to us. God’s plan is to partner with us through relationship with Him to manifest His power and His Kingdom.

God doesn’t do most things Himself(without us) because He would have to deal with the sin issue and wipe out anyone who hasn’t repented. CS Lewis said it best “When the Author steps on the stage, the play is over!” He is patient and desires that none should perish, but that all should come into repentance. But God has chosen to give us a season where He wants to partner with us to truly change the outcome of how things happen on the Earth. Some may say this violates the sovereignty of God, but it doesn’t when you consider that God wrote each and every one of us into His sovereign plan. What kind of world are we going to leave our children? Are we going to pray fervently on our faces for God to come and touch us until we become vessels He can use to shape history? The decision truly is and always has been ours.

Proverbs 13:22
“A good man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children…”

What kind of inheritance do you want to leave your children?
What kind of world do you want to leave for your children to live in?

People of great character in faith like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. dared to dream that he could change the world he lived in if he partnered with God and did it God’s way. Despite the many threats on him and his family’s life he made a true impact in the United States that is still effecting how we live today. Even his assassination wasn’t able to stop what he and God had started. God has created each and every one of us to live a life of significance and impact on this world. You are not as powerless to do something as you think you are. God wants to use all of you to impact this planet. The idea that only some people have a significant call is a lie from the pit of hell to keep the church from rising up to its destiny. Will you accept the call and destiny He has put on your life?  Again the choice is and always has been ours.

Blessings,

Machew

Deny thy self.

To my brothers and sisters in Christ.

We are in a time in the United States where we are surrounded by many who claim to be of God but do not act as if they say they are. We hear many false gods’ being preached about while we  the people of God do nothing. When we hear about some person who is actually doing the work of God we sit back and say good for them. Why? Why don’t we stand beside those who give there lives for our Lord? At the very least we could be praying for them without ceasing. “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints-” (Ephesians 6:18) Why don’t we give our lives for the Lord?

Now that I got your attention. Lets look at Luke 9:23-26. “Then He said  to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Farther’s, and of the holy angels.” Here is the tough question do we pick up our cross and follow our Lord daily or, do we waste time doing other things? What are we doing when we do not follow Christ daily? We are doing all that we want to do. When we do not follow the Lord daily it becomes a whole lot easier to fall into temptation and sin. Do you really love God enough to give him your life and stand for him?

I challenge all to get alone with God and ask him to show and guide you how to deny yourself. After you pray that don’t just say amen afterwards but, listen. He may tell you or direct you to a bible verse you need to read. Personally I have realized that there have been times when God has been trying to tell me something and I was too loud to hear him. I believe that when you truly seek after God you will find him.

To God be the glory!

Fighting Hypocrisy in the Church

Pastor Francis Chan goes through 1 Corinthians 5, a very difficult pasage about the responsibilites of believers to lovingly confront other Christians about their sin.  To ignore Christians who are living in sin and continue to let them do so is extremely unloving. You do it only because you care more about hurting the persons feelings than saving them from hell.

Jesus does not need you, you need Him

Jesus does not need you, you need Him

I cannot count the number of times I have heard someone say to me “I would follow God if he would just show up in my room with blinding light telling me to follow him,” or if God would just miraculously give me a million dollars in my bank account or save me from this situation or do any number of extraordinary things.  God is capable of doing this, of course, so why doesn’t he?

The answer is simple, God does not need to beg you to come to him, he gives you all of the evidence you need, it is up to you to decide to follow him.

God never begs anybody to follow Him

Have you ever noticed in the Bible how Jesus never, ever, begged people to follow him?  Never once did Jesus say “please follow me, pretty please?”  Then why do so many people think God caters to us to try and entice us to come to him?

The purpose of parables

After Jesus told the parable of the sower (Matthew 13) the disciples asked him why Jesus told parables (Matthew 13:10). Jesus’ answer was probably a little shocking to the disciples, I know it is shocking to me.  Jesus answered and said

Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.  For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.  Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.  And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says:

‘ Hearing you will hear and shall not understand,
And seeing you will see and not perceive;
For the hearts of this people have grown dull.
Their ears are hard of hearing,
And their eyes they have closed,
Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears,
Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,
So that I should heal them.’ (Matthew 13:11-15)

Is the Bible telling us that Jesus did not want them to understand?  Yes, that is exactly what this is saying.  But why? Because the people would not respond correctly. “But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.” (Luke 8:15)  Jesus had just said in Matthew 13 that people will be judged based on how much knowledge they are given, so Jesus speaks in parables out of compassion, not giving too much information to those who will not respond properly but giving enough to peak the curiosity of those that really want to know God.  Jesus only wants those to come to him who will respond properly.

Jesus wants everyone to be saved, right?

Yes, God wants everyone to be saved (2 Timothy 2:3-4) “God our Savior,  who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” God wants everyone to come to him in the same way I want my son to follow God and never stray, never get hurt. But I know that my son will stray despite what I want for him, just like God knows not everyone will come to him despite God wanting everyone to come to a saving faith in Jesus Christ.

Jesus stands at the door and knocks

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. (Revelation 3:20)

Jesus knocks on the door for all of us, he does not beat down the door or force his way in. Those that answer the door Jesus dwells with, those who tell Jesus to go away, get a silent door.

Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks (John 4:23)

Those who seek

God wants you to seek him, not be lazy and wait for everything to come to you.

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. (Matthew 7:7)
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him (Hebrews 11:6)

Jesus is a treasure worth sacrificing everything

Today it is so easy to get caught up in what the society thinks. We think God is nothing more than something else we add to our life, an hour or two a week and try to avoid sin and then we are good, we have our ticket stamped ready to go to heaven.  But that is not what God wants. God is more valuable than that! God is not a trinket we wear around our neck along with everything else in our life. He is our life.

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. (Matthew 13:44)

Jesus, treasured above everyone

If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:26)

What? We are to hate everyone in our life? Jesus has to be number one in your life; your love for him must be so much more than any other relationship that everyone else is put to the side for Jesus, you do not put Jesus to the side to serve your family!

No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62)

Do you get it yet? Jesus is not someone who begs you to follow him.  Jesus is so awesome, so wonderful, you need to come seek Him.  Jesus already paid the ultimate price to free you from your bondage in sin, and he created you (John 1:3), what else do you need?

References

Why did Jesus speak in parables?

The Humanity of Christ

It is well known that Jesus came in the form of man, and He experienced life on earth, going through all of the problems we go through, all of the hurt we go through, and experienced pain, suffering, and loss just like the rest of us.  We all know this, but in the back of our minds is a thought that since Jesus is God made flesh, He really did not, or could not have gone through as much pain and suffering as we go through.

Great Loss

When thinking of how Jesus went through loss of personal relationships, two people come to mind.  First is Joseph, his father.  We do not know for sure what happened to Joseph, but we do know that Joseph was there when Jesus was twelve in the temple (Luke 2:28), then we never see him again in scripture. When Jesus was dying on the cross he tells John to take care of his mom, something Jesus would not have to do if his father was still alive (John 19:26-27).  This also shows that Jesus cared about his mom, he wanted her to be well taken care of, something any of us would want.

Another powerful passage in the Bible is when Jesus’ close friend, Lazarus, died.  Jesus got word that Lazarus was not feeling well and then after he died Jesus made his way to visit.  Seeing the women weeping over Lazarus and then seeing the grave himself was too much for Jesus, and “Jesus wept” (John 11:35).  This simple verse showing that Jesus had compassion, felt pain, even though he knew Lazarus would not be dead for much longer, it was still painful to him.

Isaiah 53:3 He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

Great Suffering

I think it is downright impossible for us to understand the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross.  All to often I hear others, or even think in the back of my own mind, that what Jesus went through was bad but at least he knew the end result so it was not that bad.  How wrong can we get? Not only did Jesus get tortured and executed, but his status with God was, for the first time in all existance, severed from the Father (Mark 15:34).  Can you imagine what this would have been like? Do you think Jesus was anxious at all, or wished that he could avoid what was ahead?

Jesus did not want to go through with what was ahead and prayed for God to remove this trial from his only begotten son (John 22:42).  Jesus, “being in agony, prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” (John 22:44)

Yes, Jesus was human, he had compassion, felt the pain of loss felt great anxiety. Jesus went through the pain that we went through, even more so.

So why did He do it?  Jesus prayed “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me: nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” (John 22:42).  Do you not think that the loving father would take such trials from His only begotten son? But he did not, why?  Because it was the only way.

Isaiah 53:4-5 Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.

“He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever.” (Hebrews 10:12)  Jesus died, do you really understand that? Jesus, our creator, was beaten, tortured, betrayed, and executed for you!

Acts 3:19
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,

2 Corinthians 7:10
Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.

John Piper, in Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ writes

Therefore, this man of indestructible joy was “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3). “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me” (Matthew 26:38). This “great high priest” is not unable to sympathize with us in our weakness, becasue he was tested in every way as a man like us (Hebrews 4:14-15). He wept with those who wept (John 11:35) and rejoiced with those who rejoiced (Luke 10:27, 21). He was hungry (Matthew 4:2), he was weary (John 4:6), he was forsaken (Matthew 26:56), betrayed (Matthew 26:45), whipped (Matthew 27:26), mocked (Matthew 27:31), and crucified (Matthew 27:35).

Jesus can and did relate to us, he felt pain suffering and loss.  Why did he go through all of this pain and suffering?  Because only through Jesus can we be reconciled with God.  Jesus went through all of that, only for you, what do you do for him?