How Much Does He Love Us?

Psalm 136:1-9 (NIV)

    1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good.
    His love endures forever.
    2 Give thanks to the God of gods.
    His love endures forever.
    3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
    His love endures forever.
    4 to him who alone does great wonders,
    His love endures forever.
    5 who by his understanding made the heavens,
    His love endures forever.
    6 who spread out the earth upon the waters,
    His love endures forever.
    7 who made the great lights—
    His love endures forever.
    8 the sun to govern the day,
    His love endures forever.
    9 the moon and stars to govern the night;
    His love endures forever.

John 15:9-17 (NIV)

    9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

Romans 8:38-39 (NIV)

    38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[k] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

There is a Peace!

For all of my life as a Christian I have heard others talk about the peace beyond all understanding. I have searched for it, longed for it, waited for it, prayed for it, but felt that I never quite found it. Oh I caught fleeting glimpses of it, but never experienced the kind of peace that they must have been speaking of.

How often do we hear or read something and only scratch the surface…never really seeing or thinking of the deeper meaning? For me…quite often, but as I was reading Philippians Chapter 4 the other day, it was as though the scripture just jumped off the page at me as if to say, ‘here I am, experience me’!

Here it was finally…I understood….I saw it….the answer!

    Philippians 4:4-6
    “4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

When life comes at you like a tornado, take a moment to realize that you are not alone. There is no need for panic or fear. Jesus is right there with you. Let him know what you need. Let him know you are afraid or unsure.

    Philippians 4:7
    “7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Ah….there it is. Could it really be that simple? Yes!

When we live in the realization that He loves us so passionately and wants nothing but the best for us, we will then begin to see that He is waiting to take our hand and lead us safely through our turmoil. We will then see his ‘Peace beyond all understanding’ encompass our lives.

    Philippians 4:8-9
    “8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

If we can discipline our minds to think on the good things, the Godly things, we can live in constant peace. No matter what is happening around us. No matter what situations may be arising, or what turmoils my be brewing, we can dwell in His perfect peace.

Can I tell you that after this realization, I am there. I am experiencing the peace of Christ as I have never experienced before.

Now don’t misunderstand me….I still have troubles…bills that need paying….too much month at the end of the money…but I am at peace knowing that my God will supply all of my needs according to the riches of His Glory in Christ Jesus.

It’s Simple

I have been accused of being an over simplifier!

I have always believed that there are ONLY 2 choices in every situation…the right one, and the wrong one…it is your choice which one you choose.

Simple solution, make the right choice.

I believe that when something goes wrong with my computer, I look back at the last thing I downloaded or upgraded and think that it had to have had an affect or caused the problem.

Simple solution, delete last program or upgrade added and go from there.

I believe that if there is a problem with my cars that needs to be fixed…I should take them to a mechanic because cars make me feel stupid. Ask my wife and she will tell you the same.

Simple solution, take it to a mechanic.

I believe that salvation is simple.

John 3:5-7 “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit[b] gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.”
John 3:16-18 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”
John 3:31-36 “31 The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. 32 He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. 33 The man who has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. 34 For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God[k] gives the Spirit without limit. 35 The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.”
Romans 10:9-11 “11If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”

I believe that faith is simple.

John 14:12-14 ”Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”
Luke 18:15 “15 People were also bringing babies to Jesus for him to place his hands on them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 17 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
Luke 18:40 “40Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, 41“What do you want me to do for you?”
“Lord, I want to see,” he replied.
42 Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” 43 Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God.
Simple!

I believe that following Christ is simple.

John 14:15 “15If you love me, keep my commands.”
John 14:21 “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”
Luke 9:23-25 “23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. 25 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?”
Matthew 22:37-39 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[c] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Proverbs 22:1-8 “1 My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you,
2 turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to understanding—
3 indeed, if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding,
4 and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure,
5 then you will understand the fear of the LORD
and find the knowledge of God.
6 For the LORD gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
7 He holds success in store for the upright,
he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
8 for he guards the course of the just
and protects the way of his faithful ones.”
Luke 18:9-14 “9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

I believe that the Gospel is simple.

1 Corinthians 1 “10 I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. 11 My brothers, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. 12 What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas[a]“; still another, “I follow Christ.”
13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into[b] the name of Paul? 14 I am thankful that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so no one can say that you were baptized into my name. 16 (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don’t remember if I baptized anyone else.) 17For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”[c]
20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.
26 Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”

It takes SIMPLE faith…God said it in His word…I believe it!

Is it really that easy?

Ah….herein lies the paradox….NO!

I never said it was easy. I said it was simple.

Living a life worthy of being called “Christian” is not easy. It is filled with turmoil, turbulence, options, choices, voices and too many other numerous things to mention.

It is a life filled with, ‘not my will but yours God’.

It is a life filled with hours on our knees asking for God’s direction, wisdom, help, peace, and strength.
It can be a life filled, a life full…and should be.

It’s a Simple life….not an easy one!

Revolutionary, Reformist, Radical, or Anarchist?

I have heard a lot of talk about being a revolutionary. I have read numerous blog posts and articles about the need for reformation. I have read books on how to be radical in your faith…but it seems I always come back to these thoughts….

    Are we kicking against the status quo because it is cool to kick against the status quo?
    Are we trying to be hip or relevant to today’s culture?
    Are we following an urging in the Holy Spirit?
    Are we experiencing unrest in our personal faith because of a holy indignation?
    Are we complaining about the state of today’s “churches” because we see something that needs to change, or simply because we don’t want to go to “church”?
    Do we really want to see and effect change in the world…or do we just want to talk about it?

If the only reason we are fighting is simply for the sake of fighting…then we have become as the title to an old James Dean movie…a “Rebel Without a Cause”.

If all we are doing is railing to rile…then we aren’t Revolutionary, Radical or even a Reformist….we are an Anarchist.

I have questioned myself time and time again about my disinterest and dissatisfaction in today’s church culture and have come to a few conclusions.

    I am not simply trying to kick against the status quo…I really want to see lives changed into the image of Christ.
    I am not trying to be hip, current or relevant…I really do believe that God wants His people to live in community with each other, to care for one another, to share with one another, to know one another, to passionately love one another.
    I will endeavor to no longer complain about today’s church organizations…rather I will speak the truth about what God wants to do in, through and for His people.
    I will talk about God’s grace and His mercy and His deep love for us.
    I will continually tout the simplicity of the Gospel and tell people about the Good News that Jesus gave all for them, so that they might have life abundant. I will always tell of how that this thing called Christianity is really a simple faith, though not always easy to walk out, but well worth the struggle.

I have been called a rebel, a non-conformist, and a malcontent just to name a few. And to those that have called me those things I say…thank you very much! Having read about the apostles and Jesus himself…I think I am in good company.

When They Call Me Daddy!

Nothing can melt a Daddy’s heart quicker than one of his baby’s running to him arms open wide excitedly

Photo courtesy of : Photostock

yelling, “Daddy”! If you have never experienced it….you have missed one of life’s most beautiful moments.

Little girls especially can have this affect and sometimes learn at an early age that a bat of the eye lashes and a soft “Daddy can I have…” and the next thing you know you are emptying your wallet and she is headed to the mall to buy who knows what.

I have so many fond memories of my babies and those early years. It doesn’t happen very much later on in life when they get older I am finding out.

I found myself reminiscing about those times the other night and the thought came to me, “Imagine how God feels when we call Him “Daddy””. When we feel so deeply and intimately toward Him as a child to his Daddy. Think of how you feel when your child looks at you lovingly and says “I love you Daddy”, now multiply that many times over and we might just begin to scratch the surface of how our “Daddy” God feels when we do the same.

We know without doubt that He loves us so very deeply. We can see it in everything around us. He has shown it through His Grace and Mercy toward us and in His gifting of eternal life for us.

    “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God…” (Romans 8:14-17, NRSV; cf. Gal. 4:5-6)

I can imagine that much like you or I would do when our child call us “Daddy”, I can imagine Him saying, “I love it when they call me Daddy”!

(On God as Daddy)

The Way!

There are many people in the world looking, desperately searching for their way in this life. They are trying to find their path.

photo courtesy of Ponsulak

In their search they will no doubt run across several different paths. Some with signs shining brightly with brilliant lights and much fanfare, and some with really cool graphics touting all of the modern catch phrases. Then there is the path that has a sign simply stating “The Way”. Which path will they choose is the question? Will they choose one of the paths that are more enticing, or the one with the simple statement?

It is so very easy to become confused by all of the different paths, and for those that are on a particular path, it always seems like the right one to them and they will gladly tell you the same.

How I wish that everyone could/would choose the right path. It would make their/our lives so much better. We would have much less heartache, stress, worry and fear in this world.

    “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” John 14 NIV

Thank you Father for showing us “The Way”. Help us to shine your light to light the right path to a lost and dying world.

Just Another Example!

Wikimedia Commons

This past fiasco about Harold Camping predicting that the rapture would take place on May 21st 2011, is another prime example of how preachers, prophets, and churches who spend their time preaching a message other than the Gospel of Jesus Christ, are making Christianity a laughing stock.

All this hullabaloo about the rapture and the impending Zombie Apocalypse is a load of crap.

Yes…I do believe in the rapture. I do believe that it will happen. But I also know that according to scripture,

    “…no no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Mark 13:32 NIV

Far too much energy and money is being spent spreading either gloom and doom and the impending apocalypse, or the name it and claim it prosperity message. How many “if you believe it you can receive it” messages do we need? How many self help, motivational speeches do we need to hear?

The message that the world needs to hear is that Jesus Christ was crucified for our sins so that we could have eternal life!

They need to hear that there is a hope and a peace beyond all understanding!

They need to hear that this fantastic gift can be had to anyone who believes and will receive it because of the price Jesus paid on the cross of redemption!

Christianity owes the world…and God an apology for allowing these so called preachers and their idiot ideologies and the stupid things they say in the name of God.