Sunday, February 24, 2013

Crazy, Breathtaking, Unstoppable Love

Do you know God loves you?  Seriously, do you really know He loves YOU! 


We talk a lot about the love of God but I wonder if we really comprehend His love for us.  Can we grasp the incredible sacrifice He made for us?  Do we understand that if we were the only person on this earth He would’ve died just for us?


In Philippians the author says that Christ gave up His divine privileges; took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being.”  (Philippians 2:7 NLT)  Stop for a moment and think about this. 


He gave up . . . Heaven


A place that no words can describe, no imagination can comprehend.  It’s easy to think He left the Hilton for the Holiday Inn, when in fact it was more like the slums of Dubai. 


Will we get to heaven and wonder how He ever could have done it?  And He left that glorious place to be born a helpless baby; the God of the universe solely dependent on the ones whom He created.


He gave up . . . Time and Space


He chose to be confined to a physical body for the rest of eternity; to experience pain, heartache, hunger, sickness and sorrow.   He was limited by time; no longer free to go wherever He wanted, whenever He wanted.


And as if that wasn’t enough, He took on Himself the sins of the whole world; all who had ever lived and all who were to come.  He became the Abuser, the Gossiper, and the Hater. 


Consider the weight of a single sin; the agony and sorrow it brings and multiply that by who knows how many??  It’s easy to believe He died of a broken heart.

But His heart was broken for you!  He did that all for you!  Why?  Because He loves you!  He’s crazy about you! 


 May you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how WIDE, how LONG, how HIGH and how DEEP His LOVE is.  May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully.  Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.  (Ephesians 3:18-20 NLT)


God died for you, my friend.  Is there anything more He could do to prove His love for you?  Rest in it.  Be overwhelmed by it.  And LIVE in the knowledge that you are His most precious possession.


Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Unwilling Accomplice

Let's imagine for a minute that you had a group of friends in college that you loved hanging out with.  They were a lot of fun - you never quite knew what they were going to do next.  Your parents had tried to discourage you from hanging out with them, they knew about their tendency to push the limits on things but you always had so much fun with them that you refused to listen. 


One day you all decide to go to Seven-Eleven to grab some drinks for the evening.  Everyone piles into a car and off you go   You're standing in front of the refrigerators when it happens.  One of your friends pulls out a gun and demands that the cashier hand over all the money from the drawer. 

You stand frozen in time as you realize what is going on, unable to move, unable to speak.  Your friends  grab whatever they can and race out to the car.  What are you going to do now?  You never wanted this to happen and yet you are a part of it regardless of how you feel or what you know or didn't know.  You have just become an unwilling accomplice.


Have you ever thought about how the Holy Spirit must feel when you are looking at pornography, reading Fifty-Shades of Grey, gossiping with a friend, harboring bitterness in your heart, yelling at your children, or emotionally cheating on your spouse?


God isn’t just watching what you do, He lives INSIDE of you (if you’re a follower of Jesus) and when you sin He becomes an unwilling accomplice.  Is it any wonder that our sin doesn’t just make Him sad but grieves Him to the core? 


Look at what Ephesians 4:30 (The Message) says, “Don’t grieve God.  Don’t break his heart.  His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself.  Don’t take such a gift for granted.”


God wants so much more for you and me than to be trapped in our sin, defeated and discouraged.  That’s why He gave us the Holy Spirit!  He wants us to KNOW that we have the power living in us to overcome sin and to live victorious, Spirit-driven lives. 


Don’t let the Holy Spirit be the Unwilling Accomplice of your sin.  Give up, surrender and let Him be the Willing Participant in your life as He fills and makes you fit for Himself! 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Pet Peeves!

Do you have a pet peeve?  You know that thing that someone does that frustrates you to no end!


I have a pet peeve!  It drives me insane when someone (not mentioning any names here) tracks water into the house and doesn’t bother to wipe it up and I come along in my stocking feet and step in it! 

And if I’m confessing, I might as well admit that I have a few other ones as well. . . It drives me nuts when I’ve been waiting, what seems an eternity, at a left-hand turn light only to find the person in front of me preoccupied with their phone.  Then when they finally wake up, they make a quick turn and leave me stuck at the light.

The other day I was thinking about some of those things that drive me crazy and another thought caught me completely by surprise, “I wonder what pet peeves God has about me.”


And it got me to thinking . . .


Could one of His pet peeves be when He sees me continually trying to do things in my own strength instead of His? 


Or when He sees me judging someone else’s sin and neglecting my own.


I wonder what pet peeves God has about me.


Look at Romans 2:3-4 (The Message), You didn’t think, did you, that just by pointing your finger at others you would distract God from seeing all your misdoings and from coming down on you hard? Or did you think that because he’s such a nice God, he’d let you off the hook? Better think this one through from the beginning. God is kind, but he’s not soft. In kindness he takes us firmly by the hand and leads us into a radical life-change.”


God hates my sin!  Why?  Because it pulls me away from Him, it puts a wall between him and me. It saddens Him when I choose death over life, sorrow over joy, and a cheap trinket over His vast treasure.    


I confess that I find it easier to focus on the sin of others than to take a good hard look at the sin in my own life.  And if I’m honest, deep down I secretly hope that God will be distracted with other people and their sin and not look too carefully at mine.


It’s all too easy for me to forget that God hates my sin and to misread His silence as His blessing in my life.  


God wants so much more for you and me!  He desires a radical life-change through radical obedience and radical surrender, anything less and we settle for a mediocre, second rate, luke-warm Christianity.


Is that what God sacrificed His Only Son for?  So that you and I could live a middle-of-the road existence with Him.  Say it isn’t so!