I ridiculed others......God loves me anyway. I ignored a need........God loves me anyway. I was selfish...........God loves me anyway. I lied..................God loves me anyway. I spread gossip.........God loves me anyway. I lost my temper........God loves me anyway. I held a grudge.........God loves me anyway. I disobeyed.............God loves me anyway. I coveted...............God loves me anyway. I was greedy............God loves me anyway. I was hypocritical......God loves me anyway. I was impatient.........God loves me anyway. I was jealous...........God loves me anyway. I cheated...............God loves me anyway. I cursed................God loves me anyway. When things are going well God will fill us with gratitude and when things are not going well He will fill us with fortitude...if we let him. I want to be a trophy to be admired on God's mantle. God wants me to be a tool to be used in his workshop.
He said "Don't," but I did. He said "Do,", but I didn't. He said "Stop," but I kept going. He said "Keep going," but I stopped. He said "Give," but I kept. He said "Keep," but I spent. He said "Go," but I stayed. He said "Stay," but I went. He said "Louder," but I stayed silent. He said "Be quiet," but I shouted. He said "Now," but I waited. He said "Wait," but I did it anyway. Over and over I sinned. Over and over He forgave. And that is "Good News"!
At the burning bush Moses asked God to identify Himself. God replied, “I AM WHO I AM” (Exodus 3:14) In that same verse he directed Moses to tell the Hebrew people the “I AM” sent him. Our assignment as God’s children and servants is to tell people HE IS!
HE IS the truth. HE IS the one who forgives sin. HE IS the only path to eternal life in heaven. HE IS the wisdom we need to succeed in this life. HE IS the final victor in the battle between good and evil. HE IS the creator and sustainer of the universe. HE IS the one who gives us joy and peace. HE IS our protector from temptation. HE IS our refuge. HE IS and it is our privilege to tell everyone we meet!
JESUS DIED TODAY (Friday) Nailed to a cross, held up in the air So his enemies could see Him there. Beaten and tortured, bleeding and bare Jesus died today. He did not cry out, did not complain. Like a lamb at the altar He was slain, So my sins with me would not remain. Jesus died today. He chose to die...the time and the place. He did it for the human race, the example of God's loving grace. Jesus died today. JESUS IS BURIED TODAY (Saturday) His place is a tomb, cold and alone, A borrowed grave instead of a throne To pay for sins like my very own. Jesus is buried today. There is no marker, no special way To see where Jesus lays today Because He said "Father, I obey." Jesus is buried today. Draped with cloth from his head to his feet The great sacrifice is now complete. Proudly all his enemies repeat Jesus is buried today. JESUS ROSE TODAY (Sunday) Women were first to see it was true. They went to the tomb while day was new. They told others. Soon everyone knew Jesus rose today. He left the tomb so cold and so bare. No need to look, Jesus is not there. The news is joy to men everywhere. Jesus rose today. Death is defeated. Jesus has won. This is the proof that He is God's son. He's the Messiah, the Promised One. Jesus rose today.
Last night, in a dream, I saw Jesus. Not Jesus the God, but Jesus the man. I was surprised. He looked normal. Not unusual. Just normal. Short and stocky, Strong and solid, with Black curly hair. Almost instantly I realized I was Disappointed. Here was Jesus, and He looked so very Human. Then I met Him and Shook His hand. And there, Face to face, Arm's length away With His hand in mine I first looked Into His eyes. And immediately I knew I was meeting More than a man. In His eyes I saw Love. Total, open, complete Love. Love with no exceptions Or limits. Love that does not Have to be earned Or even returned. Pure love. Enormous love. Powerful love. Tender love. Giving love. But in those eyes I also saw Compassion and Acceptance and Forgiveness. I saw calmness and Understanding and Power. I saw peace and Courage and Purpose. Then I knew I was also looking Into the eyes of God.
A woman had three sons, each of them married with children of their own. All three were scheduled to arrive at her house at 11:00 for lunch on Thanksgiving Day.
For days she carefully planned the menu. Most of Wednesday was spent cooking desserts. She put the turkey in the oven at 5:00 Thanksgiving morning. The table was adorned with her best dishes and gleaming, polished silverware. By 10:45 everything was ready. She had done her best and she was pleased with her efforts.
Then she heard voices and strange noises from the area behind the house where the trash cans were stored. When she looked outside she could hardly believe her eyes. There were all three of her boys, along with their families, sitting in a circle around the trash containers. They were eating from the trash cans.
Using the can lids as serving trays they were eating potato and apple peels, carrot tops, and orange rinds. As she watched they scraped out what was left from the discarded vegetable cans and frozen food boxes.
She rushed outside, horrified at their behavior. “All of you come into the house this instant,” she cried.” This is crazy. I have a wonderful meal for you in there. Why would you want to eat garbage out here when I have turkey and mashed potatoes and hot rolls and apple pie on the table in the kitchen?”
The oldest boy replied “I’m sure you have a good meal inside, but we don’t deserve any better than this. We have neglected you lately and this is all we have a right to expect. It’s good enough for people like us.”
The middle son also refused. “This is really not so bad, Mom. If you’ve never tried it you don’t know what you’re missing. Would you like to join us?”
The third boy confirmed the decision to stay outside. “I’ve talked it over with my family and we don’t believe you really have anything any better inside. You can’t prepare a meal like you described. We think you are lying to us.”
The foolish, ungrateful behavior of these children causes us to feel outraged. But we act in similar ways toward God when we refuse the banquet of blessings he has for us and accept, instead, the trash offered by the world.
God prepares a menu of blessings for us every day. (Psalm 23). He knows we don’t deserve it but He continually offers us the best He has. Of course we don’t deserve his goodness, but He chooses to bless us anyway. To say He cannot bless us is to deny his power. To say He has not or will not bless us is to contradict his word. When we live in guilt, ignorance and denial we are as foolish as the three sons.
I think that just before Jesus performed a miracle he often had a slight smile on his face…a hidden smile of anticipation. After all, He was about to do something good for someone He loved. He was about to give the joy of life or sight or health to an undeserving individual whose life would never again be the same.
He was a little like the small boy in the classroom whose teacher was about to unwrap the Christmas present he had given her. He believes it is the best present she would receive. He knows she will love it. As she starts to unwrap it he squirms in anticipation at his seat. He can hardly wait to do something nice for someone he loves.
Jesus was eager to provide healing for all those who came to Him. I think he really enjoyed it each time He restored health to them. We will never know how much energy each act of healing cost Jesus (Mark 5:30) but I will always believe He liked doing them.
USED TO BE
Things I step over are higher than they used to be.
Things I duck under are lower than they used to be.
Stuff I wade through is deeper than it used to be.
Things I walk across are wider than they used to be.
Objects I carry are heaver than they used to be.
Errands I run are longer than they used to be.
Material I read is smaller than it used to be.
Reading lights I use are dimmer than they used to be.
Chairs I use are lower and harder to get out of than they used to be.
Stairs I climb are steeper than they used to be.
Floors I drop stuff onto are further down than they used to be.
But the God who made me and all that other stuff is the same as He has always been. And for this eighty-year old that is GOOD NEWS!
Confession?. . . . .”I did it”
Repentance?. . . . . “I’m sorry”
Obedience? . . . . . “I will”
Service? . . . . . “Let me help”
Worship? . . . . . “You’re wonderful”
Devotion?. . . . . “I love you”
Gratitude?. . . . .”Thank you”
Humility?. . . . . “Help”