Sunday, February 22, 2015

Gotcha Day!

Eleven years ago, my sister and her husband adopted a little five year old boy and their lives have never been the same since.  They went to court, stood before a judge and agreed to take this boy as their own. It was my nephew’s “Gotcha Day”!  To commemorate the day and remind their son of his entrance into their family they planted a small little pine tree in their yard.  And they named it the Gotcha Tree.

That tree is a reminder to their son that he belongs to them.  He's part of their family.

As I looked at that tree I was reminded of my own Gotcha Day.  The day I was adopted into God’s family.  The day I became His! 

God sent Him (Jesus) to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that He could adopt us as His very own children.  And because we are His children, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.”  Now we are no longer a slave but God’s own child.  And since you are His child, God has made you His heir.  Galatians 4.5-7 

The day we surrender our lives over to Jesus is our Gotcha Day!    

We were slaves to sin, enemies of Him unable to make ourselves worthy enough to approach a Holy God.  But Jesus, when He took the punishment for our sin, said, “I’ve got this! You no longer have to strive for something you can never attain . . . I gotcha!” 
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It was on a tree, hands and feet nailed into its wood and forced into the ground, which held our Savior and commemorates our Gotcha Day.  This gotcha tree reminds us that we are no longer unworthy sinners but children of the King! 

We have a New Identity.  New Status.  New Position.

We have been adopted into God’s Family.  We are no longer slaves, hired hands or beggars.  We are His children and heirs to the Kingdom. 

We have a Gotcha Day!  How. Amazing. Is. That!
 
Do you have a Gotcha Day?  You can.  The Bible says you need to believe and receive.  Believe that only Jesus can save you from your sins and receive his gift of salvation.  "Jesus, I know I'm a sinner and I can't save myself.  I accept your gift of salvation, I understand Jesus took my place when He died on the cross and I want You to come into my life, wash me clean and make me your child.  Amen." 
 
If you prayed that prayer and you believe what God says . . .  It's your Gotcha Day!  You are now a child of God.  Tell someone.  (I'd love to hear from you!) 
 
 The Old Rugged Cross
On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suffering and shame;
And I love that old cross where the Dearest and Best
For a worold of lost sinners was slain. 
So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it someday for a crown!

 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Jailbreak!

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“The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for He has anointed Me to bring Good News to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the LORD’s favor has come.”  Luke 4.18-19

 






Jesus came to set the captives free! 

But most of the people Jesus came in contact with never even recognized they were in spiritual bondage.  They were so focused on their Roman captivity, they neglected to understand who their real captor was!

In Romans, Paul spells it out clearly  . . .  our captor is SIN.  Previously, you let yourselves be slaves to impurity and lawlessness, which led ever deeper into sin.   Romans 6.19

Captivity to sin is all we’d ever known.  The cage of sin was where we resided and we had made a pretty comfortable home there.  Our shackles of sin held us hostage but we didn’t feel bound, in fact it was just the opposite - we felt free. 

Sin was our shackles, our bondage, our captivity.  But Jesus died to set us free!  He removed the chains that bound us and hemmed us in.  His love is our jailbreak!

It wasn’t until Jesus set us free that we realized our incarceration.  We understood our sin and invited Christ into our lives to free us from this bondage.  And He did!

So why do we keep going back to the cage?  Why do we shackle ourselves with the guilt of our sin?  Why do we wrap the chains back around us and refuse to leave the jail?

We believe the lies that our sin is too ugly for God to forgive.  We refuse to believe God has forgiven us because we can’t forgive ourselves.  This jail cell is all we’ve ever known, it’s comfortable.  It’s “safe”.

If we’ve left the country where sin is sovereign, how can we still live in our old house there? Or didn’t you realize we packed up and left there for good?  . . .  We left the old country of sin behind . . . We entered into the new country of grace—a new life in a new land!  Romans 6.1-2 (MSG)

God set you free!  There is no need for penance – it has already been paid in full!  Your sin is covered, washed away by the blood of God’s own Son.  There is nothing left to do but embrace this new way of living, this freedom.  Leave the cage and all its shackles behind and walk into this new land of grace and hope! 

Our jailbreak is NOW!
 



  

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Everlasting

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God replied to Moses, “I am who i am.  Say this to the people of Israel: I am has sent me to you.” God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: Yahweh, the God of your ancestors—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you. This is my eternal name, my name to remember for all generations.  Exodus 3.14-15

 “I AM WHO I AM.” 

 Not I WAS or I WILL BE, or I HOPE to BECOME . . . But, I AM. 

 Eternal. Everlasting. Infinite. Timeless. Limitless.

How do I get my head around a God like this when all I’ve ever known are beginnings and an endings? There was no beginning to Him and there is no end.  We can search and discover all we can about our God but we will never come to the end of Him.  He always was and always will be.  The Alpha and Omega.  The beginning and the end!

“To whom will you compare me?  Who is my equal?” asks the Holy One.  Have you never heard?  Have you never understood?  The LORD is the everlasting God, the creator of all the earth.  He never grows weak or wear.  No one can measure the depths of His understanding.  Isaiah 40.25, 28 (NLT)

Because “I AM” is everlasting . . .

               He is not limited by my problems or my choices.

               He is not held captive by what I do.

               He uses circumstances in my past to impact my future good.

               His plans are not thwarted by what I or anyone else might do.

               My pain doesn’t overwhelm Him.

               My failure doesn’t discourage Him.

               My anger doesn’t scare Him.

               My questions don’t threaten Him.

               My choices don’t leave Him at a loss as to what to do.

 He is greater than my circumstances.  He is bigger than my problems.  He is larger than my fears. The question is . . . will I allow the everlastingness of God to change the way I live?  Will I trust Him even though I don't understand?

Yahweh . . . You have always been and You will always be I AM.  May I always quest to understand You more and allow the truth of who You are transform the way I live.  Amen!
 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Bloody-Knuckled Faith


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“You just need to trust God . . .” my well-meaning friend remarked.  

It was meant to be a life-line for me to grab hold of but it felt more like a brick battering my injured soul.  I was drowning.  Drowning in a storm that threatened to overtake me and the last thing I wanted to hear was another platitude.   

It was true . . . I did need to trust my Savior.  So why did it hurt so much to hear?  It wasn’t because I didn’t want my friend to speak truth to me.  It was in the assumption that this was the easiest thing in the world to do.

Trusting God is anything but easy! 

I think trusting God is a lot like rock climbing.  Your knuckles get battered and bruised as you make your way up the rock, refusing to look down, holding on with all your strength.   

The Psalmist David understood what it meant to cling to the God, his ROCK in the storm.  The LORD is my ROCK, my fortress and my savior; my God is my ROCK in whom I find protection.  He is my shield, the power that saves me and my place of safety.  Psalm 18.2

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Trusting God is ROCK climbing.  It takes patience as we look for crevices to place our feet and hands.  Some parts of the ROCK have natural clefts to rest in, other parts are sheer and daunting.  It takes everything in us sometimes just to hold on.  We find ourselves pounding the ROCK in anger, longing to reach the summit where we can throw ourselves down and rest.

A follower of Jesus gets bloody knuckles from climbing and clinging but they refuse to let go. 

Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge!  How impossible it is for us to understand His decisions and His ways!  Romans 11.33 



God’s ways are not our ways . . . We may not ever understand why He allows the things He does but if we KNOW our God we can cling to Him in spite of our circumstances.  He's big enough to handle our hurt and anger. 
 
We will discover that He is our fortress where we will not be moved.   

Trusting God is never easy.  Clinging to the ROCK in the storms of life is hard.  BUT only there will we find our true rest and place of safety.   

I cling to you; your strong right hand holds me securely.  Psalm 63.8
 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

God Turns Nobodies into Somebodies


 
We call Abraham “father” not because he got God’s attention by living like a saint, but because God made something out of Abraham when he was a nobody.  Romans 4.17 (MSG)
When God chose Abraham was an ordinary guy.  There was nothing spectacular about him.  He had no hidden talents, no supernatural faith, no outstanding ideas, and no blazing personality.  He was a nobody. 
But God took that ordinary man and turned him into a somebody. 
And Abraham . . . well, he simply believed God would do what He said He would.  Day by day, month by month, year by year Abraham’s faith grew stronger and stronger as he discovered who God was.  He clung to the belief that God was the God of the impossible regardless of the way things might look.
Abraham was first named “father” and then became a father because he dared to trust God to do what only God could do: raise the dead to life, with a word make something out of nothing. When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn’t do but on what God said he would do.  Romans 4.17-18
God is in the business of turning nobodies into somebodies.
I’m an ordinary girl.  I don’t have any outstanding talents, no blazing personality, and no supernatural faith.  But I believe in a God who raises the dead to life and makes something out of nothing.  You see He did that for me!  I was dead, dead in my sins, an enemy with God, completely unaware of my situation.  But that didn’t keep God from sending His very own precious Son to pay for my sins. 
One day I met this Jesus and turned my life over to Him.  I saw my sin for what it was . . .  a vile ugly mess that I could never attempt to clean up on my own.  I opened my heart to His grace; His payment and forgiveness of my sins. And this undeserved privilege, this grace made me one of His own children!  How spectacular is that!!
God took this nobody of a girl and turned her into a somebody.  And He can do the same for you! 
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.  Yet God freely and graciously declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood.  Romans 3.23-25 (NLT)
If you have never invited Christ into your life, this gift is waiting for you.  All you have to do is receive it.
Lord, I’m a sinner and I know there’s NOTHING I can do to rescue me from my sins.  I believe that you did it ALL for me when you paid the price for my sins.  I surrender my life to you.  Amen.