“Jesus loves us not because we’re good, but because He’s Jesus.” —Pastor Kevin Green
We can’t escape this fact anymore than God can escape Himself. Jesus loves broken people like us because He does as He is, and for no other reason.
That is tremendous.
“Men do not reject the Bible because it contradicts itself, they reject the Bible because it contradicts them.” —Paul Harvey
“My truth” is just another way of saying “The real thing offends me.” Actually, the real thing saves you, and it’s plain as the print on the page.
A.W. Tozer’s opening line caught me off guard. When the shock wore off, it began to make sense…
“Make sure that you don’t substitute prayer for obedience. Prayer is the oxygen of Christianity, but if we pray without preaching the gospel as we have been commanded to, we are drawing near to God with our lips, but our hearts are far from Him. Make sure you put legs to your prayers and reach out to those who are going to Hell.”
It seems that Bono of U2 agreed…
“Christians who prize “politeness” over candor may end up living a trivialized life. You’ve gotta be very careful that grace and politeness do not merge into a banality of behavior where we’re just nice—sort of ‘death by cupcake.’”
Pray to proclaim.
(An Elementary School teacher’s poem…)
He came to my desk with a quivering lip, the lesson was done;
“Have you a new sheet for me, dear teacher, I’ve spoiled this one?”
I took his sheet, all soiled and blotted,
Gave him a new one, all unspotted;
And into his tired heart I cried, “Do better now, my child.”
I went to the Throne with a trembling heart, the day was done;
“Have you a new day for me, dear Master, I’ve spoiled this one?”
He took my day, all soiled and blotted,
Gave me a new one, all unspotted;
And into my tired heart He cried, “Do better now, my child.”
Don’t you just love God’s grace…?
Three apprentice devils were preparing to come to the earth to finish their apprenticeship. They first spent time talking to Satan about their plans to tempt and ruin men.
The first devil declared “I will tell men that there is no God”
Satan said to him, “That will not delude many, for they know there is a God”
The second devil boasted “I will tell men that there is no hell!”
Satan answered the second, “You will deceive no one that way. Men know even now that there is a hell for sin.”
The third devil thought for a moment, then said, “I will tell men that there is no hurry…”
Satan excitedly told the third “Go! and you will ruin men by the thousands!” (Adapted from William Barclay)
People are dying; Jesus is coming; Christians have eternity; the world doesn’t.
Give ’em heaven, while they still have time.
Victorian preacher C.H. Spurgeon had a way of cutting through Christian excuses…
“If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and un-prayed for.”
Some things are worth everything and every effort.
(Painting, “Don’t Let Go” by Daniel Cordova)
It’s not the end of the world—yet. But with all that’s gone wrong on earth, how is it we’re still here? C.S. Lewis wondered that too…
“Why is God landing in this enemy-occupied world in disguise and starting a sort of secret society to undermine the devil? Why is He not landing in force, invading it? Is it because He is not strong enough? Well, Christians think He is going to land in force—we do not know when. But we can guess why He is delaying. He wants to give us the chance of joining His side freely. I do not suppose you and I would have thought much of a Frenchman who waited till the Allies were marching into Germany and then announced he was on our side. God will invade. But I wonder whether people who ask God to interfere openly and directly in our world quite realize what it will be like when He does. When that happens, it is the end of the world. When the author walks on to the stage the play is over. God is going to invade, all right—but what is the good of saying you are on His side then, when you see the whole natural universe melting away like a dream and something else-something it never entered your head to conceive-comes crashing in—something so beautiful to some of us—and so terrible to others—that none of us will have any choice left? For this time it will be God without disguise—something so overwhelming that it will strike either irresistible love or irresistible horror into every creature. It will be too late then to choose your side. There is no use saying you choose to lie down when it has become impossible to stand up. That will not be the time for choosing—it will be the time when we discover which side we really have chosen, whether we realized it before or not. Now, today, this moment, is our chance to choose the right side. God is holding back to give us that chance. It will not last forever. We must take it or leave it.”
The side we choose is everything, forever. Choose wisely. Choose today.
There are people in this darkening world who are admired more than others, even when the darkness is great and imposing. They are of little worth to the status quo, yet they shine like stars. They are you.
“If we lived in a state where virtue was profitable, common sense would make us saintly. But since we see that abhorrence, anger, pride and stupidity commonly profit far beyond charity, modesty, justice and thought, perhaps we must stand fast a little—even at the risk of being heroes.” —Sir Thomas More, from the play, “A Man for All Seasons” by Robert Bolt
Stand fast, mighty one of God—be the hero.
God wants heaven filled, and its radiant population continues to grow. Last Monday it gained Pastor Douglas Mark, known to me as “Dougie”. I knew him all of five hours on earth though it feels like we were lifelong friends. As he prepared for his graduation, he wrote some lyrics in his prayer diary, which were read to him as he stepped into glory…
‘Just think of stepping on shore—And finding it Heaven!
Of touching a hand—And finding it’s God’s!
Of breathing new air—And finding it celestial!
Of waking up in glory—And finding it Home!’
Welcome home, Dougie…and Jack…and Roger—faithful shepherds of God’s flock; servants of Jesus.
Well done, guys.
No matter sin gets redefined, it can’t unring the bell. Ignore it, offset it with good or call it something else, the roots of guilt remain like an impossibly stubborn weed. What can we do? Start here…
“Father in heaven! Hold not our sins up against us but hold us up against our sins, so that the thought of Thee when it wakens in our soul…should not remind us of what we have committed but of what Thou didst forgive, not of how we went astray but of how Thou didst save us!” —Soren Kierkegaard
God’s grace has always been about what He did for us, not because we’re good, but because He’s God. It’s just the way He is.
That makes me worship.