The Foolish Things

Last weekend I was looking through Facebook and noticed a man I had gone to school with had posted a sermon he was giving that Sunday. I listened to it for a while and I was amazed at what the Lord had done in his life. He was one of those kids who was a cut-up in school. You could always count on him to do or say something funny. If only the people who had gone to school with him could see him now.

Then, I thought about myself. There was definitely a time in my late teens when I went down a wrong road. I’m sure that anyone looking at me then would not believe that I would be a committed Christian now. I am amazed at what the Lord has done with my life also.

Why would God do this for those of us who are so unworthy of His love and forgiveness? Because that is the way He works. Scripture says, “But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise,” 1 Cor. 1:27 I mean really, what kind of a God would choose people who totally do not deserve the restoration He gives? Because simply, that is the way He gets the glory for what He does. The Scripture goes on to say, “and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence.” 1 Cor. 27-29

I know so many of you do not feel worthy of coming to God. You feel you have gone too far, sinned too much and made a complete wreck of your life. You wonder why would God want you? Because God works in ways that are just opposite of how the world works. He DOES see the value in you and knows that He can take you just the way you are and change your life in a way that no one would believe. And like the Scripture says, He will get the glory for what He does.

For those of you who are struggling right now, come to Him. He is waiting to take your life and make it into something beautiful. Just call out to Him and you will be amazed at what He will do with your life. How do I know? Because I see what He has done in mine.

Photo by Tanya Patxot. Courtesy of Pixabay.

Scars in Heaven

This week is Holy Week for those who believe in Jesus Christ. It is the week when Jesus entered Jerusalem, held the Last Supper, was crucified and rose from the dead. There is not a more important week in Christianity. Today is Good Friday, the day Christians celebrate Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.

When Jesus came back from the dead, He had a spiritual body. You could look at it and touch it. He would appear in one place and soon after appear in another. Doors and walls were no obstacle to Him. He didn’t look exactly the same as He had in life, but there was one thing on His body that made Him recognizable; His scars.

When He rose from the dead, His body had the scars from His crucifixion. One of His disciples Thomas would not believe Jesus rose from the dead unless he could touch His scars. He wanted proof that Jesus had in fact risen from the grave. When Jesus appeared to the disciples, he allowed Thomas to touch His scars and see for himself that He was real. Thomas’s response was, “My Lord and my God.”

For all eternity, people in heaven will see the marks the crucifixion left on His body. His sacrifice will be paramount to His followers, for it will be the only reason they are there, having been reconciled to the Father.

Image by Tre Harris. Courtesy of Pixabay

Slain

Behold the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world.

SO WHAT DOES THAT REALLY MEAN?

In Revelation 13:8, we see Christ described as “slain from the foundation of the world.” Before the world was created, before man was created, Jesus knew that man would be a sinner and that someone would have to pay the penalty for that sin. Before we were even created, He willingly chose to come to earth and pay the price for our sins.

It is hard to comprehend that kind of love, that kind of sacrifice, but that is exactly the kind of love that brought Jesus into the world and eventually onto the cross.

During this season, place your eyes upon Christ on the cross, dying for the sins of the world; for you, for me and for everyone who ever existed. That is the kind of love that God has for us and that is the sacrifice He made for us.

Re-Gifting

Re-Gifting…no matter how you feel about it, most of us have done it. I know I certainly have. I am a minimalist and have received many gifts over the years that I wouldn’t use. Most were really nice and I knew people who would love to have them. Passing them on seemed like the perfect opportunity to put those presents to good use. Several years ago, I began a little “store” in one of my closets. I would put those gifts and other great buys I found during the year there. When I needed a gift, I would go into my store and find the perfect gift to give.

During this Christmas Season, it seems like another opportunity to re-gift some of those nice things that I have been given during the year. When I look in my “store” I am only finding intangibles to give this year. Hm-m-m, what should I do?

The first gift I see when I look into my store is “Forgiveness.” I have received Forgiveness from others during the year and it seems only right to give that to those needing it. The second gift I see is “Acceptance.” So many people have Accepted me the way I am and surely I can be gracious enough to pass that along can’t I? As I look deeper into my “store,” I find gifts that the Lord has given me that I know He would like me to give to others. He would like me to share His kindness with others, and for sure, His compassion. He would also like me to share His Story. The Story about how He sent His Son to this earth to die for our sins and give those who believe in Him eternal life.

Re-Gifting….how do you feel about it? Does it have a place in your gift giving this season? Perhaps you are not into re-gifting tangible items but what about the intangibles? Some of them can be absolutely priceless!

Just Answer the Call!

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Have you ever been in the supermarket and someone gets a call on their cellphone and won’t answer it? The phone just keeps ringing and ringing and we all want to say, “Just answer the call!”

It’s that same way with people who are running from God. They try this, that and the other thing and nothing quite works out for them. Nothing seems to satisfy their deepest needs. They might try drugs, alcohol, sex, work, material things, and relationships but nothing gives them the peace they are looking for. Those of us closest to them want to say, “Just answer the call!”

Why? Because we remember what it was like for us before we found the Lord. We were no different and certainly no better. Do you wonder if God is trying to call you? Or do you know for sure that it is Him, and that is why you won’t answer the call? You know, we are not guaranteed that He will keep trying forever.

Are you one of those that thinks that God has quit calling you? Have you ever checked your messages from Him? Check them. You will hear several: “Call me, I am waiting to talk to you,” I sent my Son to die for you,” and the best one, “I love you, in spite of who you are and what you have done.”

Do you wonder if He will answer if you call Him back? Will He be too busy talking to someone else? Let’s see what He has to say about it…”For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved,” Romans 10:13. His words, not mine.

What if you answered the call before, but you have turned away? Will He reject you? Can He still use you after all you’ve done? When we turn back to Him, we find that “the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable,” Romans 11:29.

You know, if might just be time to answer that call. Can you hear your phone ringing? I can…

Torn Between Two Countries

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I was born the child of parents from two different countries. My father met my mother while he was overseas in the service. She was Italian and her family lived in Milan. They were married and returned to the States to live. From the time I was little, I would hear stories about Italy and have letters read to me from my Italian family. I would look at the pictures they sent and long to meet them. 

Growing up, I never quite felt at home in the States. There seemed to be a part of me that was longing for another country, another family, another culture. When I got older my father decided I should go to Italy and get to know my Italian family.

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I began learning the language, made arrangements to go to school over there and flew to Milan. I met my family and spent several months with them. It was an experience I will never forget. They showered me with love and took me around to different cities and taught me about the history and culture of the country. Even though I loved my new family, the people and that country, there was a part of me that still didn’t quite fit in there completely. 

Eventually, I moved back to the States and married. I still kept in touch with my family in Italy and my heart was always torn between the two countries. I had people I loved in two different places and for better or worse I was now part of two different cultures. Since that time, I have never completely fit in the country I am living in because there are always people I love and want to be near living elsewhere.

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During this time I became a Christian so I began learning about another culture. I read the Bible and began to experience an entirely different kind of  life. I heard about a place where there was no violence, murder, or crime of any kind. I learned of a place where peace reigned because God reigned there. Again, my heart became divided. There were people I loved here on Earth, but I longed to be with my Heavenly Father in Heaven. There was a better place to live and more and more my heart longed to be there.

So again, I am torn between two countries, two cultures, two peoples, two places. There are people I love here on Earth but I hate the crime, division and the lack of love people have for one another. I long for that place where people will treat each other kindly and where love will reign supreme. 

I know that I am not alone. Most people sense that there is something not right here on the earth. We look around and know instinctively that there is not supposed to be hunger, thirst, disease, war, poverty, greed and all the other kinds of evil there is here. We were made for something different and we all have a deep longing for a better place, a better life. 

What about you? Are you torn between two countries also? Do you long for a better life and a better place? It’s available to you, all you have to do is ask for it.

“Then he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, remember me when you come into Your kingdom.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” Luke 42 – 43.