The Cross is Enough

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    As Christians do we realize we have it all?  Yes, we have found our heart’s desire, God’s peace, and the remedy for the penalty of sin.  This is all accomplished through the cross of Jesus.  However, man’s wisdom tells him that he can earn his own salvation.  The gospel rejects man’s efforts to save himself and presents Christ as the only way to God. 

    We find the message of the cross is the opposite of what humans consider wise.  While the world’s system exalts human wisdom only the message of the cross leads to salvation.  In Colossians 2:13-15 we are given a complete description of what happened at the cross.   “You were dead in sins, and your sinful desires were not yet cut away.  Then he gave you’re a share in the very life of Christ, for he forgave all your sins, and blotted out the charges proved against you, the list of his commandments which you had not obeyed.  He took this list of sins and destroyed it by nailing it to Christ’s cross.  In this way God took away Satan’s power to accuse you of sin, and God openly displayed to the whole world Christ’s triumph at the cross where your sins were all taken away.”  The cross ushers us into a new life.  We can whole heartedly recommend this victorious life to every person on earth.  As Christ’s new creation we are promoters of the truth that Christ plus nothing equals everything.  Dear Christian, God’s plan is not the world plus the cross but a distinct and separate life which stands apart.  When a person comes to the cross, the world says goodbye to him and he says goodbye to the world.  Our own human philosophy loses its attractiveness because the believer has found the true desire of his heart.  Findlay says, “He can never believe in it, never take pride in it, nor do homage to it anymore.”  The cross is the great dividing line between the world and the believer.  God’s peace is now a reality because we are no longer defined by soul anxiety.  Christ controls us now and the sin problem has been answered. 

    May we never forget that Satan’s powers were once and for all disarmed at the cross.  We are free to live lives of increasing happiness and healing as we move closer to Christ.  Jesus is the victor today and for all eternity.  We can come to the cross confident that everything has been done to purchase our salvation.  Our expectation is of a bright future and a steadfast hope.  Friends, as we gather at the cross let us join together in remembering these wonderful words from the hymn Rock of Ages: “Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling.”  The power of the cross is enough!

Click here to read another blogger’s thoughts on the love of God as revealed at the cross.

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Blessed Control

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           Do you take your words seriously?  We should not overlook the tongue, though this member of our body is small in size.  The tongue misused can change the course of events with one fell blow.  It can damage a friendship, destroy a career, erode confidence, break a heart, and ruin a reputation.  “The tongue is a small thing, but what enormous damage it can do.”  James 3:5

            As believers we use our tongue to express praise and gratitude to God.  We have built up friends, supported troubled brothers in Christ, and prayed for God’s blessings.  The disciple James wrote that no spring would produce fresh water and bitter at the same time.  This reminds us that our tongue should also not both build up and tear down.  “Some people like to make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise soothe and heal.”  Prov 12:18   Dear Christian, our conversation should help each other instead of wounding.  Those who seek to control their words are the most balanced and well-disciplined people.  Through exercising restraint in our speech we find we can exercise restraint in other areas of life as well.  In essence, James is asking how our spiritual health is doing which is revealed by our conversation.

            Who can tame the tongue?  “…no human being can tame the tongue.”  James 3:8   Our human nature alone is just not up for the job.  Only God, through the Holy Spirit’s enabling, can bring it under control.  Did you know that Christians have an automatic alarm system?  The Holy Spirit alerts us to danger, directs us away from unsafe individuals, and will even tell us when we should close our mouth.  God is our overwhelming strength and willing to guide us if we will just ask.  With the Holy Spirit’s help we will be able to change habits that hurt instead of heal.  “If you want a happy, good life, keep control of your tongue…” 1 Peter 3:10   God’s practical Word is standing by, ready to teach us how to embrace life as we journey with Him.  Friends, let us recognize that our words can truly make a difference in a hurting world.

Click here to read another writers thoughts on the battle to tame the tongue.

Click here to read another take on the power of words.

Life Changing Forgiveness

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There is nothing so painful and characterized by darkness as unforgiveness in our lives.  The real truth is unforgiveness is an open door for Satan to come in to harass and torment us.  The first step toward healing is to acknowledge our need.  “O Lord, for the depths of despair I cry for your help.  Hear me!  Answer!  Help me!”  Ps 130:4   How we need God to show us the destruction unforgiveness is capable of working within us.  We can begin to pray that God may open our eyes and “… open their eyes to their true condition so that they may repent and live in the light of God instead of in Satan’s darkness, so they may receive forgiveness for their sins and God’s inheritance along with all people everywhere whose sins are cleanses away, who are set apart by faith in me.”  Acts 26:18

God has provided through Christ such overwhelming grace that we can truly bathe our lives in forgiveness.  Those who have been forgiven much sincerely love God and our Savior Jesus with a special grateful love.  Jesus then offers us access to the throne of mercy. “O Lord you are so good and kind so ready to forgive; so full of mercy for all who ask your aid.”  Ps 86:5   And the reward of extending forgiveness to others is life-changing, bringing us into a closer more personal relationship with Jesus.

We all experience hurt, some profound, yet we should never be afraid of the hurt we have experienced.  It has no power over us when we take it to God. This hurt is like a precious offering, a sacrifice given back to God.  In exchange He desires to use the hurt to change us into the very image of Christ.  In this transaction we are transformed to become sensitive, compassionate caring people.  Let us not put off what is so liberally available.  “A wise man will make haste to forgive, because he knows the true value of time, and will not suffer it to pass away in unnecessary pain.”  Samuel Johnson

The Christian’s capacity to love others is enlarged through recognizing how deeply we have been forgiven.  “Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”  Eph 4:32   When we offer a pardon to those who have hurt us we have the chance to see others through the eyes of Christ.  Let us pass beyond the darkness of our personal pain and accept God’s life-changing forgiveness.

A Higher Value

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The real essence of Christianity is that Christ is sufficient.  There are no flaws in His character and He never makes a mistake with our life.  Because He is absolute perfection we find joy when we submit to His will.  He truly desires to be our all in all.  “The king of love my shepherd is whose goodness faileth never; I nothing lack if I am His and He is mine forever.”  Sir Henry Baker   Yes, we fail; we fall short in every way.  But because of the cross His grace covers our faults and failures.  When He laid down His life we became perfectly loved, perfectly accepted, and perfectly forgiven.

Do we comprehend the incredible value found in Christ?  He is our comfort and help in time of need.  He is a friend who is closer to us than our next breath.  He is the heaven-sent power that transforms our daily living.  He provides a solution to each dilemma we face.  He is the living answer.  He is also the blessings giver.  “We have all benefited from the rich blessings he brought to us- blessing upon blessing heaped upon us.”  John 1:16  We need someone who understands both things of earth as well as those relating to Heaven and eternal life.  John the Baptist declares, “He has come from heaven and is greater than anyone else.  I am of the earth, and my understanding is limited to the things of earth.  Those who believe him discover that God is a fountain of truth.  For this one- sent by God- speaks God’s words for God’s Spirit is upon him without measure or limit.”  John 3:31, 33, 34  Yet even in His magnificence do we still reject His value?  “And the Father leaves all judgment of sin to his Son, so that everyone will honor the Son, just as they honor the Father.  But if you refuse to honor God’s Son, whom he sent to you, then you are certainly not honoring the Father.”  John 5:22, 23  “Christ is not valued at all unless he be valued above all.”  St. Augustine

Dear Christian, have we made up our mind who Christ is?  Do we believe Him to be the faultless, flawless God-Man who is victorious over sin and master of every problem?  “God be thanked for that good and perfect gift, unspeakable; His life, His love, His very self in Christ Jesus.”  Maltbie Babcock   Let us raise our voices together in praise to God for sending Heaven’s Perfection, the One who is pure sufficiency and grace.

Click here to read about Christ’s love for His daughters.

Click here to read about God’s grace.