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Posts Tagged ‘Is Jesus good news?’

I think most of us can agree on the ideas advanced in this meme. The question in my mind focuses around hope.

It’s natural to “hope for the best” in all things. To hope our children will do well. To hope our parents live a few more years. To hope our finances survive the latest economic challenge. To hope that rap/hip-hop goes away (sorry, that’s just my hope ;-)).

But what about something bigger? Something beyond the 70 or 80 years we spent on this planet?

We live in a culture that constantly, subtly discourages us from pondering the BIG questions. Go shopping, get a tatoo, pursue another promotion, buy the newest smartphone. THAT, our culture insists, is what we should focus on.

Maybe you’ve done that for awhile. And maybe you’ve come to realize your soul is hungry for something more. Something deeper. (Perhaps that’s why you’re reading this blog).

I wanted something more, and that led me to Jesus of Nazareth, who many people believe is the Son of God. I follow Him because He offers a precious HOPE to everyone – including YOU – regardless of who they are or what they’ve done (or not done).

  • Hope to be the person you were created to be
  • Hope for this world, which even the most optimist of us must admit isn’t doing very well
  • Hope for something beyond this life

How can one guy do all this? Consider these quotes from ancient writers:

  • He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts.
  • The Spirit God gave us does not make us afraid. His Spirit is a source of power and love and self-control.
  • The Sovereign Lord is my strength. He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights.

And these words, from one of Jesus’s earliest and most influential followers:

  • The Lord is true to His promises; He will hold you up and guard you against the evil one.
  • I pray that the God who gives hope will fill you with much joy and peace as you trust in him. Then you will have more and more hope.

There it is. HOPE.

So how can you get in on this? Simple. God offers Jesus as a gift to anyone willing to accept Him. All you need to do is say yes to Jesus. Declare, with honest sincerity, that He is your Lord, Saviour and best friend. Ask Him to forgive you for all the wrong things you’ve done and all the right things you’ve failed to do. Ask Him to give you the HOPE only He can provide.

When that happens, Jesus comes into your life and starts to make you who you were created to be. It’s a long process that won’t end until this life ends. When that happens, trusting in Jesus means that God will see you like He sees His Son: perfect in every way. And you’ll be welcomed into Heaven to spend eternity with Him.

Sound good? Yes or no, post your comment below and let’s have a conversation. 🙂

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Most of us have grown so accustomed to living in a credit card world that we give it no more thought than breathing or going to the bathroom.

We use the card, a bill arrives every month and we either pay it off or pay the minimum and eventually deal with the interest charges.

This system exists in another world, too: the world of our behaviour. When I’m rude to another driver, engage in hurtful gossip or find shady ways to avoid paying taxes, that goes on my spiritual credit card. When I ignore the needs of people around me, stay silent in the face of injustices or fail to use my God-given gifts for good, that goes on my spiritual credit card.

You might notice that I’m writing about two elements of behaviour: the wrong things we do and the right things we fail to do.

As a follower of Jesus of Nazareth (who many people believe is the Son of God), I know both elements are equally important to my creator.

Do you pay attention to both? I often don’t and that’s something I need to pray about, asking God to open my eyes and heart to see and act on the opportunities He gives me to be the hands and feet of Jesus in a hurting world.

Returning to the spiritual credit card theme, I’ve built up quite a list of items, many of them things I’m not even aware of. So have you.

As with the credit card in your purse or wallet, all the wrong things we’ve done and all the right things we’ve failed to do must be paid for at some point. This is more important than you might think because Jesus tells everyone who’s willing to listen that You must be perfect, just as your Father in Heaven is perfect.”

Jesus says this because when this life ends, perfection is the admission price to spending eternity with Him in Heaven. Nothing else will get you past the bouncer at the door.

So my question is: how will you pay off your spiritual credit card? I know that I can’t pay off my card and achieve perfection. It’s simply not possible. And I believe that’s the case for you, too.

Acknowledging this FACT means someone has to pay off our cards for us. And the only person who qualifies – the only person who is perfect – is Jesus.

When He was physically on earth, government and religious officials who were offended by His words and deeds arrested him on trumped-up charges and put Him to death. But their actions served an entirely different and life-changing purpose: His death paid all the credit card charges for everyone who believes in Him and follows Him.

Now, when God looks at Jesus followers, all He sees is His Son’s perfection. And that’s what the bouncer at the door to Heaven will see, too. But just as important, when you say yes to God’s gift of Jesus, you welcome Him into your life RIGHT NOW to help you become the person God created you to be.

Sound like a good deal? Yes or no, post your thoughts below and let’s have a conversation.

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God Auschwitz evilTake your pick: the Auschwitz concentration camp, 9-11 terrorist attacks, massacres in Las Vegas (2017), Connecticut (2012) and Norway (2011), barbaric ISIS warmongers.

These, and many other horrific examples of human evil, can serve as evidence of why there is no God. I certainly understand how people can adopt this viewpoint.

But I also understand that this is the path of least resistance; the conclusion any of us could jump to in the heat of anger and despair.

So I’m going to advance a very different proposition: there are Nazi death camps, vicious terrorists and rampaging “lone wolf” killers, so there MUST be a God.

How can that make sense? Let me explain:

1. The beautiful and terrible gift of freewill. We’ve been given it. And we spit on it. Every day. That absolutely includes ME, when I act as if there is no God and put myself in charge of me.

When you and I claim we know what’s best for ourselves, we open the door to greed, unbridled lust, petty self-centredness, intolerance and so much more. Like it or not, this path can lead all the way to unspeakable evil.

2. Who gave us that gift of freewill? Who else but God, the creator of this universe and the air you are breathing right now? Does that mean He’s responsible for when we do wrong and fail to do right? Not even a little bit. God doesn’t want goose-stepping robots; he wants people with freedom. No matter how painful this freedom has often been.

3. Who can we turn to when despicable evil happens? Two choices: God, who gave you air to breathe and free will to believe in Him; or turn away and rely on yourself.

Serious followers of Jesus of Nazareth (who many people believe is the perfect Son of God) believe this statement in one of the original-source biographies of His physical life on Earth: “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him [Jesus], anyone can have a whole and lasting life.”

The news gets better. This same biography goes on to say: “God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again.”

Notice how we haven’t been simply abandoned to free will and all its potential consequences?

In the midst of Auschwitz, Jesus was there, offering people hope of eternity in Heaven with Him, long after the suffering ended. And with that knowledge came His strength and a willingness for suffering people to forgive their Nazi torturers and escape the prison of rage and revenge.

In camps where refugees are still living with practically nothing, just so they could escape terrorists, Jesus is there, offering them more than blankets and food. Offering them His love and eternity with Him when this short life is done.

In the aftermath of massacres, Jesus is there, offering a community of believers who are, in their midst of their own imperfections, ready to provide physical and spiritual help. To be the hands of feet of their Lord and Saviour.

Getting in on all this is simple. Accept the gift of Jesus, whose sacrificial death makes up for all your moral crimes. Make Him your Lord and friend. Then watch as changes start to happen. Good changes. Changes that will take you into eternity.

Does this sound attractive? Yes or no, post your thoughts below and let’s have a conversation.

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