Party Time!

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Do you like a party?  This parable in Matthew 22:1-14 is a personal invitation to a great wedding feast with Jesus as the host.  This parable illustrates how God sent Jesus into our world asking all people to attend His joyful celebration.  In this story the people who should have come to the party turned down the invitation and made poor excuses about why they couldn’t come.  “Now go out to the street corners and invite everyone you see.”  Matthew 22:9  This means that anyone can come if they will only set aside their pride and belief in their own goodness and look to God with humility.  You see when we trust in Jesus we trade our shaky virtues and downright offenses for His permanent righteousness.  It seems as though we either find man trying to get to God his way or we find the redemptive cross of Jesus.  So we exchange something valueless and empty for something of immeasurable worth.  “For God took the sinless Christ and poured into him our sins.  Then in exchange He poured God’s goodness into us.”  2 Corinthians 5:21 What a deal!

Jesus always takes us to the cross, the beautiful, the ultimate, the undeniable cross.  Can we deny its power, the absolute fulfillment and crowning glory of God’s love?  There everything bad that has happened to us can be redeemed.  All questions are answered at the cross.  But the full understanding of the events of our lives won’t be disclosed till heaven.  Oh, the powerful wonderful cross.  How we thank our God for something big enough to absorb all hurts, personal violations, and sorrows.  Because Jesus is the final sacrifice for sin we can now truly forgive others.  When we go to the cross and leave our burdens there we can experience resurrection, the new life we need so badly.  God’s divine power, the very same power that brought Jesus back from the dead, is now available to help us live life to the fullest.  We can conquer the persistent pull toward wrong responses and faulty character.  The cross is Gods way to salvation.

Will we as a nation and as individuals respond in humility, truly sorry for thinking we could live without God?  The famous hymn by Isaac Watts reminds us, “At the cross, at the cross, where I first saw the light, and the burden of my heart rolled away, it was there by faith I received my sight, and now I am happy all the day.”  Friends, together let us find our happiness as we look forward to the great wedding feast where Jesus will be the beloved honored guest.  Yes, we were born to experience a relationship with the one and only God who is faithful to save.

Click here to read a Dutch carol about the beautiful hope found in Jesus.

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A Love Far Greater

myth-buster-welcome-to-heavenYesterday I celebrated my special friend Geraldine’s home coming.  She was 95.  As believers we look forward to being with God one day, to have completed our life’s journey.  But whether here on earth or in Heaven we have been given a love that is far greater than any person could ever give us.  By ourselves we simply don’t have the capacity to love unconditionally like God.  Nonetheless, the remarkable truth is that in spite of all our weaknesses and limitations we are His bright lights sent to illumine and fill the world with this incredible love.  David Smith shares, “The love of God is the ultimate reality, the deepest and strongest force in the universe.”  So amazing is His love, a love that reaches out and draws us to Him.  Geraldine is now with the One that loves her perfectly.  She is truly happy, a soul satisfied in Jesus.  “At last I shall be fully satisfied.” Ps 63:5

For the believer death has a whole new meaning that removes both fear and anxiety.  “He died for us so that we can live with Him forever.” 1 Thes 5:10  Elizabeth Goodrich wrote “Death to the Christian is the funeral of all his sorrows and the resurrection of all his joys.”  Norman Macleody said it so well.  “We picture death as coming to destroy; let us rather picture Christ as coming to save.  We think of death as ending; let us rather think of life as beginning and that more abundantly.  We think of losing; let us think of gaining.  We think of parting; let us think of meeting.  We think of going away; let us think of arriving.  And as the voice of death whispers You must go from earth, let us hear the voice of Christ saying, ‘You are but coming to Me’”.

Geraldine was a very special lady, a true believer in Jesus.  I miss her very much.  And now we call out to the God of heaven to reveal to us who remain this love that is so measureless and strong, the love that shall forever endure, the saints and angel’s song.

Click here to read a wonderful article by another blogger about freedom in Christ.

Are You Listening?

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When you were young did you ever sing “The B-I-B-L-E, yes that’s the book for me?”  I sure did.  But when I came to Christ I understood the Bible was more than the “good book”, more than just great literature.  It is God’s inspired living words.  Its message is universal, applicable and practical for all people everywhere.  The real issue is whether we believe enough to stake our lives on the truth of its teachings.  “And since I am telling you the truth, why don’t you believe me?  Anyone whose Father is God listens gladly to the words of God.”  John 8:46 LB   He has given us the working principles, the very words of life.  The world obeys His voice because as Creator He holds the universe together.  The wise person understands that God is ready to teach us to hear His voice.  “All you listen to my instructions and follow them are wise, like a man who builds his house on solid rock.”  Matt 7:24 LB

Most people crave “the good life”.  Could we have been deceived by looking to material prosperity?  The believer will discover that the good life is really a life of God’s blessings woven within the good as well as difficult circumstances of life.  But this first requires a person who is ready to listen.  “Listen, for the life of your soul is at stake.”  Is 55:3 LB  And yet listening must be coupled with action. There is no point in listening to God’s Word if we do not intend to do it.  “He (Jesus) replied, ‘Yes, but even more blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice.’”  Luke 11:28 LB   The reality of scripture comes alive by practicing it.  Do you try to be consistently kind?  Do you continually forgive those who hurt you, even giving love to those who act like enemies?  This takes time and much practice until you come to truly enjoy living out God’s perfect Word.  There is nothing more rewarding than seeing God’s plan at work.  Jesus reminded His listeners that hearing the message alone will not change a life.  “…those who listen and don’t obey are like a man who builds a house without a foundation.”  Luke 8:21 LB

Someday every person will face an accounting, whether great in the world’s eyes or thought small and insignificance.  “There is going to come a time of testing at Christ’s Judgment Day to see what kind of material each builder has used.”  1 Cor 3:17 LB   We are God’s very own, part of His family and His dearest friends.  He will show us how to construct strong lives for “…now you have become living building stones…”  1 Pet 2:5 LB  Today the world is watching and waiting to see whether we will build lives on the foundation that lasts.

Click here to read another blogger’s thoughts about listening to the voice of God.

Click here to read insights on how God is near each of his dear children.

An Open Door

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How amazing that in our life journey we have never been without an open door to God.   When he made us in his image he graciously gave us a conscience so we would always have access to Him.  Knowing God means knowing right from wrong.  Our conscience delivers us from living a life full of mistakes and regret, giving us tremendous advantages. As believers we now have the ability to accept his invitation into a world of asking, seeking and knocking.

To live the Christian life we desperately need resources outside ourselves.  We ask, seek and knock because we continually need the mighty all-sufficient God to give us help, wisdom and power.  It is his deep love that compels him to help us.  As imperfect humans we demonstrate love that is both limited and often based on personal behavior while God’s love is unlimited and unconditional.  This greater love is also superior in its desire to provide for us by giving his liberal, relentless good gifts.  God could not cease giving to us.  He is the unstoppable God of favor and mercy.  “…wont your Father in heaven even more certainly give good gifts to those who ask him for them?”  Matt 7:11 LB

People everywhere have a code by which they relate to their fellow man.  It is called the Golden Rule and expresses action that is both beneficial to others as well as what we would want to receive.  “Do for others what you want them to do for you.”  Matt 7:12 LB   Our actions as believers should be distinguished by the Spirit’s moving, inspiring and motivating us to live lives of excellence.  “Christianity is not simply a matter of abstinence from sin, it is positive goodness.”  William McDonald    Let us seek opportunities to do good to one another.  We don’t need to worry about doing wrong but rather concentrate on doing good.  This reveals to us what is right and leads us into the light.  Now my new life theme is this: to have every moment of my life be a commitment to the light.  Loving our neighbors is a lifelong endeavor that is displayed best by Christ-like character.  “Goodness consists not in the outward things we do, but in the inward thing we are.”  Edwin Chapin

As we experience a fabulous wealth of good gifts from God let us not forget to treat each person with the mercy and kindness that God gives us.  It’s worth any amount of effort and commitment to enter into his world of excellence.  We receive abundant resources from a generous God as we ask for help, seek to do good to others and knock upon the door of heaven.  “For everyone who asks, receives.  Anyone who seeks, finds.  If only you will knock, the door will open.”  Matt 7:8 LB  Friends, today do not leave any door to God unopened.

Click here to read “His Love Never Fails” by Shavonne.

Click here to read “Yearning For God” by CHERYLZ1961.